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Whistleblower says Britain abandoned Afghan allies during military evacuation

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Whistleblower says Britain abandoned Afghan allies during military evacuation
Taliban fighters stand guard outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 24 during the evacuation of military forces, diplomatic staffers and Afghan aides. File Photo by Bashir Darwish/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A whistleblower who used to work for a top British diplomatic office gave evidence on Tuesday to parliamentary investigators and said Britain abandoned allies in Afghanistan during the chaotic evacuation in August.

Former diplomat Raphael Marshall blamed the lapses on bureaucratic chaos and a lack of planning during the evacuation, and said it left thousands of Afghans unable to access British aid.

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Marshall gave the testimony to Britain's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which is investigating the Afghan withdrawal.

Marshall said he'd volunteered to work for the office at the height of the fall of Kabul and evacuation that followed. He said then-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab delayed several emergency evacuation referrals and missed clues that could have averted the desperate situation.

Marshall said at one time he was the only person working on the office's evacuation desk.

Marshall said that "between 75,000 and 150,000" Afghan allies applied for evacuation as the Taliban took control, but fewer than 5% received assistance.

He noted that Afghans who'd served with British troops or diplomatic staff were eligible for evacuation, and said the Afghans who were left behind included soldiers, politicians, journalists, civil servants, activists, aid workers and judges.

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Raab, who was eventually moved to a new role, defended his handling of the situation and said everyone was by surprise by the Taliban's rapid takeover.

Scenes from the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley deliver remarks about the end of the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va., on September 1. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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