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Just before 6 p.m. on August 26, a massive bomb exploded near Abbey Gate, the main entrance to Kabul airport, killing 13 US servicemen and at least 170 civilians. A suicide bomber was to blame and Daesh-Khorasan * claimed responsibility.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has denied that British forces were partly responsible for the death toll in the Kabul airport explosion last week.

A Politico report claimed that US forces guarding the airport kept Abbey Gate open longer than they wanted because the British wanted more time to get evacuees out.

Politico said U.S. commanders plan to shut down Abbey Gate by Thursday afternoon, but decided to delay it so their British allies can continue to evacuate their staff, based at the Baron Hotel.

© REUTERS / US MARINES

US forces participate in the evacuation of Afghanistan

But Mr Raab told Sky News: “We have coordinated very closely with the United States, especially around the ISIS-K threat that we anticipated, although tragically were not able to prevent, but it’s certainly fair to say that we got our civilians out of the processing center through Abbey Gate, but it’s just not true to suggest that other than securing our civilians inside the airport that we were pushing to leave the door open “.

He came out to state the British position: ‘Let me be clear on this, we were posting changes to travel advice before the bombing took place and telling people in the crowd, to about which I was particularly concerned, that certainly UK nationals and anyone else should leave because of the risk ”.

© AP Photo / Alex Brandon

In this August 18, 2021 photo, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pauses during a speech at a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington.

The transcripts leaked to Politico of calls between the Pentagon and senior military officials on the ground in Kabul show how aware they were of the potential for an attack.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reportedly told authorities to prepare for a “mass casualty event” on August 25 and said: “I don’t think people are taking so many risks on the ground.”

The Pentagon’s version of events has changed considerably since the day of the bombing. First they said there had been two suicide bombings, then they paddled back.

The Americans also initially claimed gunmen from Daesh-K opened fire on survivors after the bombing, but later admitted it panicked Afghan troops who fired at the crowd.

Raab, who was on vacation in Greece when the Taliban * suddenly advanced and captured Kabul, has been criticized for failing to call Afghan or Pakistani foreign ministers in the six months before Kabul fell, The Sunday Times reported .

But Raab has defended his role and that of Britain in Afghanistan and said they had managed to evacuate 17,000 people, including 5,000 British citizens, since April, with only a few hundred people remaining.

* Daesh-K and the Taliban are terrorist groups banned in Russia and in many other countries.




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