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Dominic Raab has admitted the government thought Kabul was “unlikely” to fall to the Taliban this year, highlighting a failure of intelligence regarding the Islamist group’s takeover of Afghanistan. The foreign secretary, facing a grilling from MPs at the Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would be travelling to the Middle East region today after coming under intense scrutiny over his response to the Afghanistan crisis.
It is understood his diplomatic efforts will centre on how to get Afghans and any remaining British nationals out of the region through third countries. This indicates that talks are likely to include Pakistan. Mr Raab said the number of British nationals left in Afghanistan was down to the “low hundreds” but added that he can’t say “with precision” exactly how many are stranded in the country. Grilled on the subject in the Commons, he said: “I can’t give you a definitive answer.”