LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide spent a full day watching a cricket match just three days before Kabul fell, the Telegraph newspaper reported.
Dan Rosenfield, the prime minister’s chief of staff, attended a match at Lord’s cricket ground on Aug. 12 between England and India while officials were rushing through plans to send a UK force to Afghanistan to secure Britain’s biggest airlift evacuation since World War II.
Rosenfield returned to Lord’s on Aug. 21 for another match, this time on a Saturday, as the crisis worsened in Kabul.
When Rosenfield was at Lord’s in the evening of Aug. 21, Kabul’s airport was shut down and the city was in full flight, with thousands desperately attempting to flee.
Gen. Lord Richard Dannatt, the former head of the army, said the government had been “asleep on the watch” a week after the capital fell to the Taliban.
A Downing Street source insisted to the Telegraph that Rosenfield had been “in constant contact with the office,” but former Brexit secretary David Davis said: “It is an extraordinary reflection of the work ethic and commitment of Number 10 staff that a senior member of that staff is taking days off when Afghanistan is falling and Number 10 demanding that ministers return from holiday.”