“The Foreign Secretary was engaged on a range of other calls and this one was delegated to another minister.”

Foreign Office Spokesperson

August 17, 2021

Facts

When it became clear that Kabul was going to fall to the Taliban, Dominic Raab was urged to make a call to the Afghan foreign minister, to ask for help to evacuate interpreters in Afghanistan.

But the Foreign Office said that Mr Raab was unavailable, so a junior minister would take the call on his behalf. On August 17th 2021 the Foreign Office said: “The Foreign Secretary was engaged on a range of other calls and this one was delegated to another minister.”

Just two days later, the Foreign Office asserted that this call never took place. A Foreign Office spokesperson told the BBC: “Given the rapidly changing situation, it was not possible to arrange a call before the Afghan government collapsed."

When we asked the Foreign Office about this, a spokesperson said: ​​“These claims are wrong and without merit. The FCDO responds in a truthful and transparent way to all media, respecting their role in public scrutiny.”

Verdict

The Foreign Office statement that the call to the Afghan foreign minister was “delegated to another minister” was true. But it created the misleading impression that a call had actually taken place, when it hadn’t. 

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