LONDON: An anonymous official from the UK’s Foreign Office has described the government’s handling of the Kabul evacuation as “unforgivable.”
The senior civil servant, who remains anonymous, told the BBC program “Newsnight” that the way the evacuation was handled caused “huge amounts of trauma and suffering … and most probably lives (were) also lost.”
In August, British forces evacuated around 15,000 Afghan allies and their families from Kabul as the Western-backed government fell to the Taliban.
“The entire operation was to manage the political fallout of what was happening, rather than to actually manage the crisis and that, for me, was the most upsetting and most difficult aspect of it,” she said.
Her condemnation comes as the British government faces a parliamentary inquiry that has exposed damning information about the evacuation operation and its failings.
Former Foreign Office official Raphael Marshall told MPs that hundreds of thousands of emails went unread during the evacuation of Britons and their allies — an account corroborated by the BBC’s source.
She said: “You had dozens of people reading harrowing horrific bits of information in emails and knowing full well that nothing was going to be done with any of it, other than a report at the end of the day to say the email had been read.”
The official, who has decades of experience working in diplomacy, said the evacuation was the worst operation she had witnessed in her career.
The government told the BBC that 1,000 Foreign Office staff worked tirelessly alongside others to carry out the evacuation.
“This was the biggest mission of its kind in generations and the second largest evacuation carried out by any country. They are still working to help others leave,” a spokesperson said.
“Regrettably we were not able to evacuate all those we wanted to, but our commitment to them is enduring, and since the end of the operation we have helped more than 3,000 individuals leave Afghanistan.”