Politics

Foreign Office boss stayed on holiday as Kabul fell to Taliban

FOREIGN Office staff worked from home and their boss stayed on holiday as Afghans were left to the Taliban, MPs were told.

Department chief Sir Philip Barton yesterday admitted having three weeks off — until 11 days after Kabul fell.

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Foreign Office staff worked from home and their boss stayed on holiday as Afghans were left to the Taliban, MPs were toldCredit: Getty

And many of the 1,300 staff were at home, but he said there was not a clocking off culture in the department.

He also insisted: “I don’t believe me being present in London would have changed the outcome — the number of people evacuated.”

But Foreign Office select committee chairman Tory MP Tom Tugendhat fumed: “It sounds less credible every time you repeat it.”

MPs accused the £185,000-a-year senior mandarin of being asleep at the wheel and demanded he quit.

Sir Philip and others were hauled in front of the select committee to explain their bungled handling of August’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

He said: “If I had my time again I would have come back from my leave earlier.”

But he refused to say where he had been.

Then Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was also on holiday, in Crete.

It comes after whistleblower Raphael Marshall said thousands of emails from Afghans trying to flee went unread at the peak of the crisis.

Many were murdered by the Taliban as a result, he said.

A work from home culture and strict rules meaning staff only worked eight-hour shifts hampered the rescue, he added.

Sir Philip Barton said: 'I don’t believe me being present in London would have changed the outcome — the number of people evacuated'

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Sir Philip Barton said: ‘I don’t believe me being present in London would have changed the outcome — the number of people evacuated’Credit: PA
Whistleblower Raphael Marshall said thousands of emails from Afghans trying to flee went unread at the peak of the crisis - pictured Taliban fighters patrol a market in Kabul

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Whistleblower Raphael Marshall said thousands of emails from Afghans trying to flee went unread at the peak of the crisis – pictured Taliban fighters patrol a market in KabulCredit: AP
Britain WON’T recognise the Taliban for ‘foreseeable future’, insists Dominic Raab during Afghan visit


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