Staff at UK Embassy in Kabul reportedly left behind documents identifying Afghan allies

Staff at the UK Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, reportedly left behind documents during evacuations identifying Afghans who had worked or applied for a job at the office, the Associated Press reported. Britain’s defense chief promised on Friday to “shed light on” the information as many Afghan allies in the West fear reprisals from the Taliban, which is gaining strength in the country.

During a tour of the abandoned embassy this week with a Taliban escort, Anthony Loyd, a reporter for The Times of London, said he saw documents containing identifying information littering the ground. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said “it’s clearly not good enough” that the papers were left unattended, the AP reported.

Wallace also said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will “ask a few questions” about what happened regarding the possibility that identifying information was left behind.

“We’re going to find out and get to the bottom of it,” Wallace told LBC radio from London.

In a statement released by the UK Foreign Office, a spokesperson said “every effort has been made to destroy sensitive material” at the embassy as the UK completes the reduction of the complex, the Guardian reported. The office also said embassy staff were working “at the pace of the deteriorating situation in Kabul.”

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace pledged on Friday to “get to the bottom of the matter” that the evacuated British embassy in Kabul left behind information that could identify Afghan allies. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (left) speaks with Wallace (right) during a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, on 24 October 2019.
John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of citizens who worked with Western forces have tried to leave Afghanistan, fearing reprisals now that the Taliban control the country.

Loyd said the documents included the name and address of a senior embassy official, contact information for other employees, and the resumes and addresses of people applying to be interpreters.

He called the phone numbers he found and learned that some of the staff had already left Afghanistan but others were still in the country, including three Afghan employees and eight family members stranded outside. Kabul airport as they tried to leave.

The government said they were eventually found and taken to safety. The temperature said the fate of at least two of the job applicants remains unknown.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said it would investigate how the documents were dropped during the hasty departure of British diplomats from the embassy as the Taliban advanced on Kabul earlier this month.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that “during the withdrawal of our embassy, ​​every effort was made to destroy sensitive material.”

Afghans evacuated to UK
Staff at the UK Embassy in Kabul reportedly left behind information that could identify Afghan employees or job candidates during the evacuations. Home Secretary Priti Patel (2nd left) talks to Malalai Hussiny (wearing a green headscarf) a refugee from Afghanistan who arrived on an evacuation flight at Heathrow Airport on August 26, 2021 in London.
Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images