Dominic Raab regrets beach holiday as Kabul fell but claims ‘no one saw this coming’

The foreign secretary was on holiday on Sunday as the city fell to the Taliban
The foreign secretary has partly defended his actions.The foreign secretary has partly defended his actions.
The foreign secretary has partly defended his actions.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has expressed some regret over his decision to be on holiday as Kabul was taken over by the Taliban, saying he wouldn’t have gone “in retrospect”.

Raab said, however, that “no one saw this coming”, and defended his holiday, saying he deserved a break after a “gruelling” two years.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • Foreign secretary Dominic Raab was spotted on holiday on the beach at a five-star resort in Crete on Sunday as the Taliban moved into Kabul.
  • Some reports have suggested Raab only left in the evening in spite of Taliban forces storming Kabul during the day.
  • Raab has defended his holiday,  saying he deserved a break after "two years of a very gruelling demanding schedule", but said that he wouldn’t have gone away had he known what would happen on Sunday.
  • With western intelligence suggesting that it would take weeks, possibly months before the Taliban made it to Kabul, Raab said no one could have foreseen the takeover on Sunday.
  • Raab has now returned to the UK to deal with the fallout of recent events in Afghanistan.

What’s been said

Speaking to Sky News about his holiday, Raab said:

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"No one saw this coming. Of course we’d have taken action if we had."

Asked specifically about his holiday he replied: "Look, as I said, everyone was caught off guard by the pace and scale of the Taliban takeover.

"The reality is as a Foreign Secretary whether we’re abroad travelling for work or a holiday we are there, able to respond to events.

“So I was engaged in COBRA, talking to foreign counterparts, directly speaking to the head of our team here in London, I was doing that on an hour by hour basis and of course I left as soon as the situation deteriorated and demanded it."

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Asked if it was a dereliction of duty he replied: "No I don’t think that’s the right description.

"We didn’t predict we would be doing this on this scale because of the Taliban takeover.

"But look, in retrospect of course I wouldn’t have gone on holiday if I had known that would be the case.

"Equally after 18 months, two years of a very gruelling demanding schedule I think it’s right people in those positions try and take some leave but we’re always ready, I’m always ready to come back."


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In an alarmingly swift offensive, the Taliban moved into Kabul on Sunday, causing thousands to flee to the airport in fear of the extremist regime.

The US, the UK and other national security forces are now attempting to evacuate remaining citizens and some Afghan nationals from the country.

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