Dominic Raab 'should be fired instead of resigning' says caller
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As the Taliban took hold of Afghanistan last week, the Foreign Secretary was on holiday in Crete with his family. He was asked to call Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar to organise the urgent evacuation of Afghan interpreters but passed the duty down to a junior minister who never made the call. Reports later emerged that Mr Raab was seen laying on a beach at a five-star resort that day, but the Government claims that he was busy on other calls.
Many Express readers thought that Dominic Raab “failed in a crisis” and said that his decision to “hand the call to a junior was deplorable”, but 63 percent of people said he should not resign in a poll of 6,708 people held between 11am August 20 and 9am August 24.
One reader said: “The missed phone call represents his general attitude towards the job or can’t be bothered.”
Another added: “Raab should go, along with the Civil Servants who dropped the ball. This Government is completely rudderless, and without real direction.”
It was evident to the public by Friday, August 13 that the Taliban were unstoppable on their quest to overthrow the Afghan government, but Mr Raab did not return to the UK until Sunday night.
A senior Government official told the Sunday Times: “Raab was told to come back on Friday. On Sunday there was a sense of disbelief among everyone at the most senior levels in No 10 that he wasn’t there. He seems to have nobbled Boris after he was told to come back.”
Express readers were divided when asked whether the Foreign Secretary should have come back from his holiday sooner, with 51 percent of voters saying he should have, and 41 percent saying he should not have.
A reader commented: “A cabinet minister has no right to a personal life.
“If he wishes to prioritise that, he should not have taken the job – it is the ultimate 24/7 job.”
But someone else strongly disagreed: “The guy IS entitled to his holiday.
“That’s what deputies are for, to cover his breaks.”
In an attempt to defend his actions, Mr Raab said: “After 18 months and two years of a very gruelling, demanding schedule, I think it is right that people in those positions try and take some leave, but we are always ready, I’m always ready, to come back.”
Lord Ahmad, the Foreign Office minister with responsibility for Afghanistan, was also on holiday until Sunday as the Taliban overran Kabul.
Critics of Boris Johnson have pointed the finger of blame at him as he allowed senior ministers to continue on with their holidays while one of the biggest catastrophes of the decade was unravelling.
One voter commented: “Boris won’t sack him as his own standards are too low.”
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Other critics blame government and military intelligence for not being aware of the Taliban’s strength, and argue that no amount of diplomatic phone calls could have changed the outcome in Afghanistan.
An Express reader said: “On the ground army officers should know how Afghan army units were coping.
“The UK’s diplomatic core should have had some idea of the diplomatic manoeuvres of the USA and the Taliban.”
Mr Raab, said: “Everyone was caught off-guard by the pace and scale of the Taliban takeover.”
NATO troops are conducting major evacuation plans to get Afghan citizens to countries that are willing to take them including Canada, Hungary and Poland.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “We are working 24/7 to get as many people out as possible.”
But according to 75 percent of Express voters, NATO cannot be trusted to handle the Afghanistan crisis.
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