A media report suggested that the US keep Abbey Gate open longer than they wanted, allowing Britain to evacuate more staff.
Britain closely coordinated with the United States and did not try to keep a gate open at the airport in Kabul where a suicide bomber killed Thirteen U.S. troops and an estimated 170 Afghan civilians, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Tuesday.
A Politico report on the August 26 attack said U.S. forces had decided to keep the Abbey Gate open longer than they wanted, to allow Britain to evacuate staff.
“We took our civilian staff out of the processing center at Abbey Gate, but it is not true to indicate that, in addition to securing our civilian staff inside the airport, we are trying to leave the gate open,” Raab said. Sky News said.
He said Britain had taken mitigating steps, including warning people not to come to the airport.
“We also moved the civilian team we had in the Baron Hotel to the airport, because it was clearly a stone’s throw away from the terrorist attack, but none of it would have been necessary or needed. Abbey Gate should be left open.” he told BBC News.
The Pentagon complained to Politico about its report, saying the story was based on “the illegal disclosure of classified information and sensitive internal deliberations”.
“We condemn the illegal disclosure of classified information and oppose the publication of a story based on it while a dangerous operation is underway,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Raab is defending his reaction to the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan and dismissing reports that he has not done enough.
Raab, who was on holiday when the Taliban pulled through Afghanistan, did not call the Afghan or Pakistani foreign ministers in the six months before the crisis, the Sunday Times reported.
“Politics is a rough game,” he said. “Anyone who takes time during a crisis to give a totally inaccurate, skewed set of reports is afraid they have no credibility and is probably involved in the money matters.”
He said Britain had ensured a safe passage for 17,000 people, including about 5,000 British nationals since April, and the numbers remained in Afghanistan in the ‘low hundreds’.
In a separate development on Tuesday, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was too early to decide whether, and how, the government would work with the Taliban to tackle the Islamic State (ISIL) in Afghanistan.
The spokesman said it depended in part on whether the Taliban maintained promises on issues such as respect for human rights.
“At this stage, it is too early to determine whether and how we will work with the Taliban going forward,” the spokesman said. ‘Many will from now on depend on their actions. As we have said throughout, we intend to put pressure on them to uphold these standards and claims. ”