Dominic Raab said today that he had done ‘everything possible’ to help Afghanistan recover from its collapse. The UK should feel proud after an anonymous whistleblower revealed the shocking details of the evacuation plans.

A junior civil servant claimed that he was sometimes the only one dealing with the thousands of emails sent by those trying to escape the Taliban. 

Raphael Marshall claimed that soldiers needed to be drafted into the Foreign Office to perform desk work. Officials stayed back and declined overtime. 

In a bombshell dossier handed to MPs, he accused Mr Raab – who was on a luxury holiday in Crete when the crisis erupted – of undermining the rescue efforts by delaying decisions.

Boris Johnson claimed that thousands upon thousands of pleading emails had been opened but not handled, in order to tell the MPs that no messages were unread. 

However, Mr Raab (now Justice Secretary and deputy Prime Minister) dismissed these claims and pointed fingers at Joe Biden because he did not provide a longer time frame before pulling out troops.  

He stated that Britain could boast of removing 15,000 people within two weeks. This is more than any country other than the United States. 

He said that “I am sure I did all I could”, adding that he didn’t believe that the Afghan crisis was the reason Johnson fired him from his Foreign Office post in a reshuffle. 

Dominic Raab today insisted he did 'everything he could' to respond to the Afghanistan collapse after a whistleblower gave a devastating insight into the evacuation efforts

Dominic Raab said today that he had done ‘everything possible’ to help Afghanistan after an anonymous whistleblower revealed devastating details about the evacuation plans.

Raphael Marshall (pictured), a junior civil servant, has claimed he was at times the only person dealing with thousands of emails from those desperate to flee the Taliban

Raphael Marshall (pictured), junior civil servant claimed that he dealt with many thousands of emails received from people trying to escape the Taliban.

Evacuees crowd the interior of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, carrying some 640 Afghans to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 15

Evacuees crowd the inside of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport airplane, which carried some 640 Afghans, from Kabul, Afghanistan to Qatar on August 15.

Raab claimed that it was necessary to conduct checks in order to prevent dangerous extremists from being brought to Britain. “We did all we could.” Sky News told him that you must have some kind of process. 

Minister of Cabinet also stated that he did not believe people who work from home or on fixed shifts would hinder the effort. He said that he regularly checked to ensure we had adequate resources. 

He also said that additional staff wouldn’t have been a problem as Afghanistan had ‘inherent problems’ with information. He said that the challenge was to decode the facts from the ground. 

The allegations raise ‘questions about the leadership of the Foreign Office’, says Tom Tugendhat, Tory chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee. 

A dossier of 39 pages was published today by the panel. It is written and edited by Marshall. Marshall worked in Kabul as a civil servant, handling mercy flight requests for Afghans.

Marshall estimated that between 75,000 to 150,000 individuals applied for assistance through the “special cases” team, less than 5% of them received it.

He stated, “It’s clear that some people left behind have been killed by the Taliban,” He tells us how, in a string of surprising revelations.

  • He was the sole person who processed the email during the evacuation attempt of two weeks.
  • Inbox had 5,000 messages that were unread at the time of writing, some with urgent subject lines like “Please Save My Children”
  • The Foreign Office had a staff crisis. This was made worse by the fact that civil servants worked from home including team leaders.
  • In a deliberate drive to ensure ‘work/life balance’, officials were permitted to not work overtime or nights.
  • Employees working more than eight hours per week were encouraged to leave.
  • Soldiers who were drafted in the Foreign Office shared one computer with eight others for nearly a whole day.
  • Because the criteria to evacuate was vague, only cleaners and cooks employed by BBC could be rescued. They were not able to rescue interpreters from other countries who had served alongside soldiers of the UK.
  • Raab caused delays unnecessary by refusing a decision to be made on the list of extraordinary cases, which was not reformatted.

Many people were desperate to get help after the Taliban took control of Kabul, in August. 

More than 15,000 Afghans and British were lifted by the UK during a one-week operation. Many others were not able to make it on the last mercy flight, which left London on August 28.

An inquiry is being conducted by the foreign affairs committee into how Afghanistan was dealt with.

Marshall gave the MPs a written explanation of his department’s response.

Chaotic crowds on an approach to Kabul Airport as thousands desperately tried to flee the country

As hundreds of people desperately attempted to flee Afghanistan, they were surrounded by chaotic mobs as they approached Kabul Airport

A whistleblower has said at times he was the only person fielding thousands of emails from those trying to flee Afghanistan

One whistleblower claimed that he received thousands of emails from Afghans trying to escape Afghanistan.

His participation in the’special cases team’ looked into the claims made by those who were at greatest risk due to links with the UK. These included Afghan soldiers and politicians as well journalists, civil servants. Aid workers and judges.

For those working directly for the UK Government (e.g. military translators), this was separate to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy Scheme. Marshall claimed that officials were unable to handle the large volume of email and did not prioritise any cases due to staff shortages.

He joined the Foreign Office at the age of 25 straight after graduating from Oxford University.

According to the evidence, junior officials were “scared” by being asked to make hundreds life- and death decisions that they didn’t know anything about. 

Marshall claimed that he was the sole person who monitored and processed emails from the Afghan Special Cases Inbox on Saturday, August 21st.

He stated in his statement to MPs that “in my view, staffing shortages have been exacerbated due to some staff working at home,”

Raab stated that he didn’t recognize the claim that just 5% of Afghan nationals applying for assistance to flee their country through one UK program received aid.

He stated it was “right” that the UK had an established process to protect and check the country from possible threats.

He said that he didn’t recognize the numbers of the whistleblower when he was asked. It is true, however that there were many people who wanted to flee Afghanistan because of all kinds of reasons.

“And I believe it’s correct that we had a system in place for checking two things. First, that we were helping British citizens, British nationals, and people who worked for British Government.

“A second thing was to make sure that no one came into the UK with a potential threat to the UK.

“And it was essential to have a procedure to make these decisions quickly but also accurately.”

Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Do I think that, with the benefit of hindsight, we can learn lessons from the operation? Yes.

However, he stated that some critics of the evacuation attempt were not based on the facts.

‘Do I also want to say that some of the criticism seems rather dislocated from the facts on the ground – the operational pressures that with the takeover of the Taliban, unexpected around the world, both our teams in Afghanistan, military, Home Office, Foreign Office, all doing a great job, working very closely together, coupled with the crisis centre in London?

“Yeah. I think it is unfair that we have not given enough credit to how hard it was.”

Raab was asked whether he had been removed from the Foreign Office by the way he handled the situation. He replied that those decisions were for the Prime Minster, although I believe from his statements to me it wasn’t related to Afghanistan. 

Tugendhat stated that these allegations were serious, and they go right to the core of the leadership mistakes surrounding the Afghan disaster. 

The evacuation has been described as a success by some, but these allegations point to a very different story – one of lack of interest, and bureaucracy over humanity.’

According to a Government spokesperson, the UK Government had worked hard for more than 15,000 Afghans in less than a week. 

This mission was the most complex in its type and second-largest evacuation ever conducted by any nation. Still working with others to assist them.

“More Than 1,000 FCDO employees worked during Operation Pitting to assist British citizens and Afghans eligible for leave. 

Due to the magnitude of the emergency and the difficult circumstances, it was necessary to quickly decide on the priority to help the most people. 

Civil servants’ Obsession with You can have a work-life balance Afghans left at Taliban at your mercy

By John Stevens, The Deputy Political Editor

Raphael Marshall offers 39 pages of devastating evidence that exposes the terrible state of affairs at the Foreign Office’s heart after Kabul was overthrown by the Taliban.

Many families and thousands of Afghan workers were in desperate need of safety, so Britain was requested to airlift them.

The junior diplomat, however, was often the last person to deal with the hundreds or hundreds of emails that were sent, nearly all of which were pleading for assistance.

In a detailed written statement to the Commons foreign affairs committee, published today, Mr Marshall – described by the committee as a ‘whistleblower’ – outlines how chronic staffing shortages at the department were compounded by colleagues working from home, refusing to work weekends and sticking to the culture of eight-hour shifts ‘despite the urgency’ of the situation.

According to the junior diplomat who is now out of the Foreign Office’s Foreign Office, the delay in making decisions by Dominic Raab, the former foreign secretary, hampered the effort to evacuate.

Britain's former foreign secretary Dominic Raab answers questions on Government policy on Afghanistan during a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee in September

At a September meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Dominic Raab (Britain’s ex-foreign secretary) answered questions about Government policy regarding Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters pose for a photograph in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 19 earlier this year

Taliban fighters pose in a photo taken in Kabul (Afghanistan) on August 19, earlier this year.

John Stevens exposes the alarming statements made by Marshall regarding the performance of his old department in one of its most difficult crises.


Marshall, a graduate of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Whitehall, is assigned to the Special Cases group. 

It was distinct from the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy program that dealt with the cases of Afghans working directly for the UK Government (e.g. translators). 

Instead, the Special Cases dealt with the claims of those at risk because of their links with the UK – including Afghan soldiers, politicians, journalists, civil servants, activists, aid workers and judges, as well as guards and others who worked through sub-contractors.

He estimates that between 75,000 to 150,000 persons (including dependents) have applied for evacuation via the Special Cases Team, but concludes that less than five percent ‘have been provided any assistance’. 

He wrote: “It’s clear that some of the left behind were since murdered by Taliban.”


According to the whistleblower, many emails sent by Special Cases were not read. There was a total of 5,000 email addresses that had been unread during the worst of the crisis. 

Many of the people who pleaded for help described ‘grave human right abuses’ committed by Taliban members, such as’murders and rapes’, he said. 

His explanation was that although automated replies were sent to the emails, they weren’t logged. This is usually false.


On the afternoon of Saturday August 21 –halfway through the two-week effort to rescue Afghans from Kabul – Mr Marshall reveals he ‘was the only person monitoring and processing emails in the Afghan Special Cases inbox’. 

He also stated that he had not read any emails after Friday afternoon. There were already thousands of emails unread, and I’m certain it was higher than 5,000. It is growing constantly. 

There were four others who had been given the Special Cases roster but did not show up on their shifts. Although I hadn’t been originally assigned, I felt morally obliged because the team wasn’t fully staffed. 

It is possible that there wouldn’t have been anyone to handle the email if I hadn’t.

He said, “These emails were urgent and desperate.” It was striking to see so many titles with phrases like “Please save my children!”

British Paratroopers desperately tried to maintain contact with him at Kabul airport. 

Many people were trying to get away that weekend and crowded the airport.

Afghan people sit inside a US military aircraft preparing to leave Afghanistan via the military airport in Kabul in August

Afghan people are seated in an American military aircraft as they get ready to fly out of Afghanistan.

Afghans struggle to reach the foreign forces to show their credentials to flee the country outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul in August

Afghans have to fight to access the foreign forces in order to be able to claim their rights to flee Afghanistan from the Hamid Karzai International Airport. This is Kabul’s August.


Marshall states that “in my view, the staff shortage was exacerbated because some employees worked at home which hindered communication.” 

“This was sometimes significant when policy was not clearly defined or the situation was unclear.”

He claims that no one worked the night shift of his team in response to requests for help on the last two days of evacuation. 

He wrote: “Despite the urgent nature of the situation the default expectation was that FCDO staff would work only eight hours per day, five days per week. 

The staff only were allowed to volunteer for the work they did. Because these shifts are less in demand, this likely led to a shortage of weekend work and fewer night shifts. This is likely due to the FCDO’s deliberate effort to prioritize ‘work-life harmony’. 

According to him, staff working beyond their hours were ‘often encouraged by colleagues to quit’. Senior leaders also suggested that employees who work more than the designated hours are ‘inefficient’.


In London, soldiers were sent to the Foreign Office to help with appeals. The department was struggling and had more than 17,000 diplomats. 

These passwords weren’t given so, for close to a day, ‘the soldiers used one computer shared with roughly eight people’. 

Marshall says that this clearly reduced their speed and efficiency.

Taliban forces patrol a runway a day after US troops withdrew from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in August

Taliban forces patrolled a runway in Kabul, one day after the US troop withdrawal from Hamid Karzai International Airport.


“Emails were marked with a flag after being read, but not entered” into the Foreign Office database of individuals requesting evacuation were handled for one week. 

According to the whistleblower, he believes that the purpose of the disclosure was for the Prime Minister and then Foreign Secretary to inform the MPs about the absence of unread email. 

Marshall says all messages received’received an automated response that indicated the request for assistance was ‘logged.’ 

This was often incorrect. Emails were often not read in thousands.


Marshall stated that Marshall was not able to believe the Foreign Office’s selection process for Afghan refugees to be evacuated. 

“There was little difference between applicants explaining a particular risk (e.g., death threats) and applicants who simply referred to general risks posed by Taliban rule. 

He said, “Some decisions were likely to prove difficult to justify.” As an example, I know that the BBC evacuated its Afghan cleaning and cooking staff. 

They deserve my best wishes, but it is difficult to see why they are ranked above translators or other people at higher risk.

At least 13 people including children were killed in a blast outside the airport on August 26

On August 26, at least 13 people were among them, children included.


Marshall claims that there were very few or no effective discussions between the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence and Marshall. One colleague commented that failure to co-ordinate could have disastrous consequences for the rescue mission. 

Also, there wasn’t any coordination with US authorities. This may have contributed to duplicate visas. 

One official opposed attempts to share evacuation list information, suggesting that it might have violated European data protection laws. 

A warning email he wrote to people that they might die was called’shrill’ by him.

Pen’s Animal Mission DID be put Soldiers at Risk

By Daniel Martin, Policy Editor  

According to whistleblower, British soldiers were at risk due to the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan.

Pen Farthing is a former Royal Marine. He convinced the Government that he could evacuate 170 animals and cats from Kabul.

His charity, Nowzad, looked after the animals.

Raphael Marshall stated that he was in agreement with the military about Mr Farthing’s charity being given priority, while translators would be left alone.

According to his statement, the ex-Foreign Office civil servant said that there is no reason to believe that the Taliban will target animal rights charity. Therefore, there was no reason to conclude that Nowzad’s employees were in significant danger.

“By contrast many other people would be left behind, who are at greater risk of getting murdered. The UK did not have a war goal in Afghanistan to protect domestic animals.

Former Royal Marine Paul 'Pen' Farthing persuaded the Government to help him evacuate 170 dogs and cats from Kabul

Former Royal Marine Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing persuaded the Government to help him evacuate 170 dogs and cats from Kabul

Marshall says that the tradeoff was between Nowzad’s animals being transported and Afghan nationals being evacuated. 

Because soldiers who were tasked to escort the dogs through crowds and into the airport might have been used for support of evacuations of British citizens or Afghans.

“The fact that there were only a few British soldiers on hand to aid UK visa holders as well as British citizens crowded into the airport made it difficult to evacuate the people.

He stated that he wishes Nowzad’s staff all the best for their future in the UK, but that they were not eligible to be evacuated or for special assistance. British Army interpreters had priority. 

British soldiers may have been put at risk to transport Nowzad’s animals through the airport, according to me.

Marshall continued by stating that an American-based animal charity still exists in Kabul. He also said there has never been any abuse from the Taliban.

He writes, “This confirms the MoD’s and FCDO’s conviction that both Nowzad’s staff nor Nowzad’s pets were under threat from the Taliban,” 

The ‘Her Majesty’s government transported the animals, which were not at danger of injury at direct cost of British nationals being evacuated and those at immediate risk of death including interpreters.

Raab’s “delayed rescue” over email formatting’

 By John Stevens, The Deputy Political Editor

Dominic Raab delayed an evacuation decision from Afghanistan by complaining about email formatting, the whistleblower claimed.

Raphael Marshall, a former civil servant claims that the foreign secretary at the time took’many hours’ to approve cases for people who were desperate to fly, despite the fact that it was a race against the clock.

Three days prior to the departure of Kabul’s final mercy flight, on August 25, Mr Raab received a list with potential evacuees that included Afghan soldiers and women rights activists.

According to Marshall, however, Marshall testified that the minister needed to see all the relevant cases in order to take a decision. 

Stowaways climbing the plane trying to leave Kabul after Taliban takeover

Kabul Taliban Takeover: Stowaways climb the plane in an attempt to escape Kabul

The whistleblower wrote that ‘For Foreign Secretary to request this suggests he didn’t fully understand’ the situation.

One case that was affected involved a family member and a senior Afghan soldier. Marshall states that he believes the family was unsuccessful in getting into the airport. 

According to him, submissions describing ‘exceptional circumstances’ were made in advance of the flight. 

“It took many hours for the Foreign secretary to get on top of any one of these notes.

“In these circumstances, I don’t know why.” His private secretary responded to the question by saying that he was unable to decide on any individual cases. Instead, he needed to review all of them in one place to be able to make a decision. 

I understand that either he or his private staff had stated that, as a lawyer, he cannot take in information without knowing all facts.

“We reformatted it and forwarded it to the foreign secretary.”

Marshall added: “I believe that the request by the foreign secretary suggests that he does not have a complete understanding of the situation… There was little time for anybody to get into the airport. Therefore, the delay caused by the foreign secretary suggests that he doesn’t understand the dire situation at Kabul Airport.

He said, “It seems likely that decisions the foreign secretary originally declined to take were less confusing than those taken by relative junior FCDO employees.”

Last night, a source close to Raab stated that over 500 special cases were evacuated, which included journalists and activists for women’s rights. 

Evacuation was a complex task. The main challenge was proving identity and getting safe passage. Not speed. The focus of the entire team was to save lives.

After widespread criticisms of Raab’s handling of Afghanistan, the September cabinet reshuffle saw him removed as foreign secretary.

According to The Daily Mail, the man was on vacation and did not make the crucial call to Afghan foreign minister for help in airlifting the translators from Afghanistan. 

But the minister, who was at a beach resort in Crete, did not make the call and it was delegated to a junior minister – but it never took place.