Top foreign office civil servant admits being on holiday until 11 days after Kabul fell

The foreign office’s top civil servant has admitted he stayed on holiday during the Afghanistan crisis until August 26th, eleven days after Kabul fell.

Sir Philip Barton, the permanent under-secretary at the foreign, commonwealth & development office (FCDO), made the admission during a foreign affairs committee session on the government’s handling of the fall of Afghanistan.

Sir Philip told the committee he would do things differently a second time around.

“I have reflected a lot since August on my leave and if I had my time again I would have come back from my leave earlier than I did”, he said.

Alicia Kearns blasted Sir Philip’s handling of the crisis.

“It is not enough to say mea culpa. How in two weeks did you not think I have to go in and protect my people?”

Sir Philip retorted suggestions his absence hindered the numbers of people left behind in Afghanistan.

“I don’t believe me being present in London would have changed the outcome – the number of people evacuated”.