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Foreign Office mandarin says Boris Johnson's role was 'inaccurate' in the evacuation of animals from Kabul.

Pen Farthing, founder of British charity Nowzad, an animal shelter, stands in front of a cage on the outskirts of Kabul.
Pen Farthing, founder of British charity Nowzad, an animal shelter, stands in front of a cage on the outskirts of Kabul
  • MPs were told by a diplomat that Boris Johnson hadn't intervened in the rescue of Pen Farthing's animals.
  • Emails prove otherwise, and Sir Philip Barton was forced to apologize for his 'inadvertently inaccurate responses'.
  • Chris Bryant stated that it's difficult to believe we are getting all the answers.

According to the Foreign Office's top mandarin, MPs received "inadvertently incorrect answers", suggesting that Boris Johnson was not involved in the evacuation of Kabul rescue animals.

Sir Philip Barton is the head of Diplomatic Service and has apologized to the Foreign Affairs Committee. Nigel Casey (head of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran directorate) had denied that he had received any correspondence suggesting that the prime minister had authorized the evacuation.

Casey spoke out at Tuesday's committee hearing, telling MPs that he had checked all his emails and couldn't find any that mentioned any prime ministerial intervention regarding Nowzad. If you have any evidence that the contrary is true, I would be interested in seeing it."

The committee published emails from civil servants the next day, referring to the prime Minister authorising evacuation of animals at Nowzad shelter, managed by Pen Farthing.

An official from Zac Goldsmith's Foreign Office ministry sent the email to the FCDO's special cases desk. It stated: "Nowzad is run by an ex Royal Marine and has received a lot publicity. The PM has just authorized their staff and animals be evacuated."

Johnson's involvement is still being denied by Downing Street. A spokesperson for No 10 stated that Johnson was not involved in authorizing individual evacuations from Afghanistan as part of Op Pitting, which included Nowzad staff members and animals.

"The Prime Minister did not instruct staff to take any specific course of action regarding Nowzad."

Barton, the chair of the committee, wrote to Tom Tugendhat on 27 January to "express our regrets for the incorrect answers to these questions".

He said: "On the date the email was sent Nigel was almost completely focused in his role of Gold in our crisis response on the terrorist threat for the evacuation. This led us to change our Travel Advice that night to warn British citizens to evacuate the airport.

"As Nigel stated to the Committee on 25 Jan, he doesn't recall ever seeing emails in which staff attributed the decision to the Prime Minister," Nor do I."

A senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee stated that it raises further questions in a statement published alongside the letter.

Chris Bryant is also the chairman of the Commons’ Standards Committee. He stated: "The tragedy of our withdrawal form Afghanistan requires the highest degree of scrutiny. This can only be done by Parliament if the Government is transparent.

"Since the publication of internal Foreign Office emails this week, additional emails have been made public that make it difficult for us to be confident that we are receiving complete answers from the department."

Barton wrote to Tugendhat, January 17, stating that he did not believe that there was any support from the prime Minister or No 10, regarding the Nowzad evacuation. He also stated that Casey had never received any correspondence.

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