Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is facing pressure to resign after reportedly being “unavailable” while on a luxury holiday in Crete as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.
Here are the key dates in the Afghanistan crisis so far:
– August 6
The Taliban captures Zaranj, capital of Afghanistan’s southern Nimruz province. It was reported this was the first capture of a provincial capital by the militants since 2016 when Kunduz has briefly taken.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advised all UK nationals in Afghanistan to leave the country because of the “worsening security situation”.
– August 8
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab reportedly flies to Crete for a family holiday at the five-star Amirandes Hotel. The Taliban plants its flag in the main square of the city of Kunduz, a key area defended against Taliban takeovers by Western troops over the years.
– August 9
The Taliban takes control of two more provincial capitals – Aybak and Sar-e Pul. The city of Sheberghan, the capital of northern Zawzjan province, and Taleqan, the capital of another northern province with the same name, also fall under Taliban control as the insurgents wage an assassination campaign targeting senior government officials in the capital Kabul.
– August 12
Around 600 troops are deployed to Afghanistan to help British nationals leave the country.
– August 13
Boris Johnson calls an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the Afghan situation.
FCDO officials are believed to have advised Mr Raab to call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar to secure help for interpreters, however, this is delegated to junior minister Zac Goldsmith. It later emerges the call did not happen.
– August 15
Kabul falls to the Taliban.
The House of Commons authorities confirm Parliament will be recalled on August 18 to discuss the worsening situation.
The PM calls a second Cobra meeting.
Mr Raab is accused of “going AWOL” during the crisis by Labour as reports suggest he was seen relaxing on a beach. The Foreign Office did not deny Mr Raab spent time on the beach, but dismissed suggestions he had been there for a considerable amount of time.
– August 16
Mr Raab returns to the UK in the early hours of the morning.
The PM calls a third Cobra meeting in four days, while the Ministry of Defence says a further 200 UK troops will be sent to Kabul to assist with the evacuation effort.
– August 17
Boris Johnson unveils plans to welcome 20,000 Afghan refugees to the UK over the next few years.
– August 18
MPs are recalled to Parliament to discuss the crisis, the Government takes heavy criticism from all quarters.
– August 20
The Times reports that Sir Philip Barton, Matthew Rycroft and David Williams, the respective permanent secretaries of the Foreign Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence, were on holiday amid the evacuations from Afghanistan.
Calls for Mr Raab to be sacked or resign grow.