Documents Identifying Afghan Staff Left at British Embassy in Kabul

By Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.
August 27, 2021 Updated: August 27, 2021

Documents with contact information of some Afghans who worked for British authorities were found lying on the ground in the abandoned UK Embassy compound in Kabul, left by Foreign Office staff as the Taliban advanced.

The discovery was made on Aug. 24 by a journalist from The Times of London during a tour through the diplomatic quarter accompanied by a Taliban patrol.

According to the outlet, the documents contained CVs of locals applying for interpreter jobs, as well as the details of seven Afghan staff at the Foreign Office. Some job applicants listed previous work for Western countries.

Phone calls made by the news outlet to the numbers on the documents revealed that some of the Afghan employees and their families remained stranded.

The newspaper said that they handed over the documents to the Foreign Office, which didn’t seem to have other records of the staff, and some of those staff were later rescued. Among them were three Afghan staff and eight family members, including five children.

A source at the Foreign Office, who did not wish to be identified, told The Epoch Times, “We are grateful to The Times [of London] for sharing the information retrieved with us and working with us to enable us to get these three families to safety.”

The fate of at least two job applicants whose details were left on the ground at the embassy remains unknown.

‘Every Effort Made to Destroy Sensitive Material’

The Foreign Office confirmed the story, but defended its staff.

“During the drawdown of our embassy every effort was made to destroy sensitive material,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.

“We have worked tirelessly to secure the safety of those who worked for us including getting three families to safety.”

The chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat, responded to the revelation on Twitter: “How [the Foreign Office] handled this crisis will be the subject of a coming Commons Select Committee inquiry. The evidence is already coming in.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told LBC radio: “We’ll find out and get to the bottom of it. The evidence looks pretty clear. Clearly it’s not good enough, simple as that.

“I think the prime minister will be asking some questions, I think we need to understand, quite rightly, how that happened.”

It comes as the military finally closes the door on evacuations to give themselves time to leave before the Aug. 31 deadline.

UK Afghanistan
The final stages of the evacuation effort in Afghanistan are under further strain after a warning that a “highly lethal” terror attack could be launched within hours. Undated UK Ministry of Defense file photo. (UK Ministry of Defense/PA)

Wallace announced on Friday morning that processing of evacuees had ended.

“We will process the people that we’ve brought with us, the 1,000 people approximately in the airfield now, and we will seek a way to continue to find a few people in the crowds where we can, but overall the main processing is now closed and we have a matter of hours,” he told Sky News.

Responding to Wallace’s announcement, Tugendhat, who is himself an Afghanistan veteran, wrote: “Military have done an amazing job but this means many—including my interpreter—will not get out. I’m not giving up but my anger and shame for those we’ve left behind to be hunted by the Taliban is growing.”

Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.