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Dominic Raab has been criticized for failing to call his former Afghan counterpart – while on vacation in Crete – to discuss the evacuation of those working for Western forces from Kabul.
The British Foreign Secretary said that the number of citizens still in Afghanistan after the final withdrawal of troops is in the order of “a few hundred”.
Dominic Raab admitted to BBC Radio Four Today Tuesday morning program, he was unable to give a “final” number of those who remained after Operation Pitting ended over the weekend.
“It’s very difficult to give you a firm number,” Raab said. “I can tell you that for British nationals we have obtained since April more than 5,000, and we are only a few hundred”.
The wording of Raab’s estimate was a near-echo of comments by his US counterpart Antony Blinken and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby about the number of Americans left behind after the last US troops left Afghanistan on Monday. evening.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has come under fire for ordering the hasty, chaotic and bloody evacuation of its embassy in Kabul and of the citizens who swept away its allies in panic to leave Afghanistan. More than 200 people, including 13 US servicemen, have been killed in a series of incidents as people desperately tried to race in Kabul airport and board military transport planes.
Raab also denied accusations gleaned from leaked Pentagon documents that British authorities insisted that the entrance to the airport abbey – targeted by a suicide bomber on Thursday – be left open to allow British citizens to enter. to access.
Witnesses told Sputnik and the BBC that US troops fired at the compact crowd after the suicide bomber detonated his explosives, killing and injuring civilian passers-by. A US Air Force drone attack on Sunday – in retaliation for the bombing – killed a former Afghan US military employee and nine members of his family, including at least seven children.
Raab announced last week that British citizens and another teenager had died in the airport bombing. British media have identified London grocer Musa Popal, 60, and Aldershot-based taxi driver, 29, Mohammed Niazi, both naturalized Afghan immigrants, among the dead, as well as the wife Afghan woman from Niazi and two of their four children. .