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British foreign secretary rejects U.S. blame for indirect role in Kabul terror attack


A report by Politico said U.S. forces decided to keep the Abbey Gate, deemed to be at the "highest risk" for terrorist attack, open longer than they wanted to allow Britain to continue evacuating personnel. British foreign secretary on Tuesday rejected the claim.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday rejected U.S. claims that a request from Britain to leave a crucial gate open at the Kabul airport to allow its evacuation from Afghanistan to continue may have contributed to the risk of the terror attack last week.

A news portal Politico report on Monday said U.S. forces, which had been running the airport at the capital of Afghanistan, decided to keep the Abbey Gate, deemed to be at the "highest risk" for terrorist attack, open longer than they wanted to allow Britain to continue evacuating personnel.

"We coordinate very closely with the U.S., in particular around the ISIS-K threat that we anticipated -- although tragically were not able to prevent," Raab told Sky News.

"We got our civilian staff out of the processing center by Abbey Gate, but it's just not true to suggest that, other than securing our civilian staff inside the airport, that we were pushing to leave the gate open," he said.

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"In fact, and let me just be clear about this, we were issuing changes of travel advice before the bomb attack took place and saying to people in the crowd, about which I was particularly concerned, that certainly UK nationals and anyone else should leave because of the risk," the foreign secretary added.

At least 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. soldiers were killed and about 200 people wounded in the blast that hit Abbey Gate of the airport on Thursday. Two British nationals and a child of another British national were among the dead in the attack, for which ISIS-K, a local affiliate of the Islamic State group, has claimed responsibility.

The United States on Monday announced the completion of the chaotic, bloody withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, ending 20 years of the U.S.-led invasion into the Asian country. Britain concluded its evacuation operation from Afghanistan Saturday night. 

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (R) meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ahead of the meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) foreign and development ministers in London, Britain, on May 3, 2021.

Published : September 01, 2021