politics

Fury over Boris Johnson's bid to save animals from Taliban before Afghans


Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has admitted there are ‘lessons to be learned’ in how the Foreign Office handled the evacuation in August this year

As Boris Johnson battled accusations of covering up Downing Street parties he was also blasted for the evacuation of Afghans in the summer.

The Prime Minister insisted it was not true that he vouched for animals to be evacuated from Afghanistan while dozens of Afghans were yet to be saved.

But it has emerged that the Prime Minister’s aide wrote to Paul “Pen” Farthing confirming his staff and animals could be evacuated from Afghanistan.

Liz Truss told the Chatham House policy institute that there are “lessons to be learned” in how the Foreign Office handled the evacuation.






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The Foreign Secretary was the first Cabinet Minister to speak on Wednesday after leaked footage showed former Downing Street aide Allegra Stratton laughing about breaking lockdown rules.

She praised her department for airlifting 15m00 people form the country as the Taliban took over.

But acknowledged the processes in her department needed to change.

Ms Truss said: “Clearly there are lessons to be learned.

“The Permanent Secretary is clear that he should have returned from holiday earlier, as was my predecessor.

“And what I’ve done, since I’ve become Foreign Secretary, is make sure that we have processes in place to address any future issues.”

Animal welfare campaigner Dominic Dyer claimed he “forced the Prime Minister’s arm” to get animals out of Afghanistan in the summer, as western troops left Afghanistan at short notice.







Former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was on holiday when the Taliban seized Afghanistan
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Dominic Dyer insists there was “no doubt Carrie Johnson gave him (the PM) a hard time” as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace appeared to change his mind over helping Pen Farthing with the Operation Ark evacuation.

But the PM denies all claims of the issue.

Earlier this week, whistleblower Raphael Marshall, who worked for the Foreign Office during the effort, claimed that just 5% of Afghan nationals who applied to flee under one UK scheme received help as a result of the “dysfunctional” and “chaotic” handling of the situation.

And many of those left behind had been killed by the Taliban.

The Prime Minister told reporters on Tuesday that “sometimes decisions took hours longer than we wanted” during the evacuation, but “you have to be careful about how you do it, it was still an astonishing thing to get 15,000 people airlifted out of Kabul in pretty harrowing circumstances”.

The Operation Pitting airlift – put in place as foreign forces withdrew after a 20-year occupation of the central Asian country – was “one of the outstanding military achievements of the last 50 years or more”, Mr Johnson added.

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