Foreign Office whistleblower claims insistence on 'work-life balance' meant emails containing pleas from desperate civilians went unread
Raphael Marshall, a 25-year-old desk officer with no prior knowledge or experience of Afghanistan, was one of the civil servants chosen to monitor an email inbox of applications for emergency evacuation from Kabul airport.He has submitted to the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee a dossier of evidence detailing the dysfunctional and bureaucratic process used to choose which civilians to save.
In the evidence, Mr Marshall claims the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s “work-life balance” culture and work-from-home directive led to a chaotic system of processing refugees and left many emails containing pleas for help unread.‘Fewer than five per cent have received any assistance’ While the FCDO received between 75,000 and 150,000 requests for assistance after the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, “I estimate fewer than five per cent of these people have received any assistance,” he wrote.
“It is clear that some of those left behind have since been murdered by the Taliban.”The release of the statement comes ahead of an appearance of Sir Laurie Bristow, former British ambassador to Afghanistan, and senior FCDO officials at the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday. headtopics.com
The committee, chaired by Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, is conducting an inquiry into the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.Last night, Mr Tugendhat said the allegations were “serious and go to the heart of the failures of leadership around the Afghan disaster”.
“These failures betrayed our friends and allies and squandered decades of British and Nato effort,” he added.“The evidence we’ve heard alleges dysfunction within the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and substantial failings throughout the Afghanistan evacuation effort.”
Mr Marshall’s testimony will raise concerns about the preparedness of Whitehall for the collapse of democracy in the country, despite the long-planned withdrawal of Western forces in August.“Despite the urgency of the situation, the default expectation remained that FCDO staff would only work eight hours a day, five days a week,” he wrote.
“FCDO employees were only asked to work shifts for which they volunteered... FCDO employees were not asked to work over periods for which they had indicated they were unavailable, even if this led to serious shortages of capacity.“I believe this reflects a deliberate drive by the FCDO to prioritise ‘work-life balance’. headtopics.com
“FCDO employees, including senior leaders, are often told that working more than eight hours a day suggests that they are inefficient.“Whilst a healthy ‘work-life balance’ is important in moderation, in my opinion the FCDO’s approach has undermined organisational effectiveness.
“In my opinion, staffing shortages were exacerbated by some staff working from home, which hampered communication,” he said.Whitehall bosses eventually drafted in soldiers, who can be ordered to work longer hours, but who did not have secure logins to use the office’s phones and computers.
The report said Mr Marshall and his colleagues asked the British embassy in Washington for help with telephone logins, who “found the situation described so implausible that they reported [his] email to FCDO Security as clearly a Russian phishing attempt”.
After a report in the Observer newspaper that emails requesting assistance were going unread, Mr Marshall said civil servants simply marked the messages as “read,” to allow Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab to claim the FCDO was clearing the backlog.“I believe the purpose of this system was to allow the Prime Minister and the then Foreign Secretary to inform MPs that there were no unread emails,” he said. headtopics.com
Mr Marshall later concluded that “the FCDO’s method of processing the emails only served a public relations purpose”.The 39-page report also criticises “extremely unclear” criteria for selecting civilians to evacuate, and explains how refugees that MPs had lobbied for were given priority by civil servants, while people who lied on their applications were assumed to be telling the truth.
It also claims a decision to evacuate Pen Farthing and his staff and rescue dogs was made outside of the Foreign Office’ criteria for rescuing refugees.“There was a direct trade-off between transporting [Mr Farthing’s charity’s] animals and evacuating British nationals and Afghans evacuees, including Afghans who had served with British soldiers,” Mr Marshall wrote.
Raab under fire It also criticises Mr Raab, now the Justice Secretary, for his slow response to queries from officials about the evacuations and insistence that information was presented to him “in a well-presented table to make decisions”.“I understand that he or his Private Office had commented that as a lawyer he could not take information without the full facts in a table,” Mr Marshall wrote.
A government spokesman said 15,000 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan in a two-week period and officials are still helping others leave.“The scale of the evacuation and the challenging circumstances meant decisions on prioritisation had to be made quickly to ensure we could help as many people as possible,” the spokesman said.Read more: The Telegraph »
More buck passing from the ones in charge I see..... Oh dear Boris works from home he,'s the bloke making the decisions you can't blame civil servant's because he went upstairs for cuppa Biden rang and said we're out out and that's it! Getting your deflections in there early eh ? One elected official went on holiday and ignored calls. Mr Dominic Raab. But civil servants eh?
Trump calls Gen Milley a 'f***ing idiot' for botched Afghan withdrawalFormer President Trump blasted Gen. Mark Milley in front of a crowd at his Mar-a-Lago resort, condemning the country's most senior military figure as a 'f*****g idiot' for the withdrawal from Afghanistan .
Trump calls Gen Milley a 'f***ing idiot' for botched Afghan withdrawalFormer President Trump blasted Gen. Mark Milley in front of a crowd at his Mar-a-Lago resort, condemning the country's most senior military figure as a 'f*****g idiot' for the withdrawal from Afghanistan . Did he say that before or after the church (Bible) photo op with the Gen? What was botched? How many troops did we lose? Zero. The only ones who botched the withdrawal were the Afghans who didn't realize or care their corrupt military was worthless and get out.
Afghanistan: Taliban warned against targeting former security forcesUS and allies 'deeply concerned' about human rights abuses against former Afghan security forces. You all sure like to talk out your arse, like there is an obvious problem with an obvious solution, yet with or without the Taliban, Afghanistan can't be a nation, no more than the Northern Territory can be a state. Pull your head in, listen to smarter people than you. Language! Taliban has been warned, or Taliban warned?
Boris Johnson survives High Court challenge over Priti Patel 'bullying'A union representing senior civil servants took legal action after the PM backed his home secretary despite a critical report.
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Civil servants are shown disputed 'genderbread person' graphicWhitehall bosses are reportedly bringing in a gender, trans and intersex group to show the gingerbread man-style picture to government workers. Actually yes, they should using the Gender Unicorn which has a non-binary line.