British embassy workers mistakenly left behind documents identifying vulnerable Afghan staff in the rush to evacuate, it has emerged.
An inquiry was announced after a journalist with The Times found papers with the contact details of seven local staff and job applicants ‘scattered on the ground’.
The Foreign Office defended its officials and said three of the staff and their eight family members have been taken to safety.
But British officials appeared to have ‘lost’ their Afghan colleagues, who were only evacuated when their details were passed on by the newspaper, the report said.
Some of those listed were found to have already been evacuated to the UK, but the fate of at least two applicants for interpreter jobs remained unknown on Friday.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Boris Johnson ‘will be asking some questions’ about the blunder, adding: ‘Clearly it’s not good enough.’
Taliban spokespeople have previously promised a general amnesty for former enemies and Afghans should ‘restart [their] routine life with full confidence’.
But numerous reports have emerged of revenge killings around the country and door-to-door searches for human rights activists and journalists in the capital of Kabul.
Insurgents hunting a journalist with Deutsche Welle shot dead one of his family and injured another because they could not find him, according to the German broadcaster.
BBC Farsi reported that a former provincial police chief, Sakhi Akbari, was shot dead and dumped outside his family home.
The UK moved its embassy in Kabul to a secure location near the airport on August 13 as Taliban fighters neared the city.
Former Afghan staff and their families were already being evacuated to the UK under a policy announced in May, although the Times’ findings suggest evacuation protocols may not have been consistently followed.
The Foreign Office has acknowledged the apparent error but insisted staff made ‘every effort’ to destroy sensitive material.
A spokesperson added: ‘We have worked tirelessly to secure the safety of those who worked for us in Afghanistan and continue to do so.
‘The drawdown of our Embassy was done at pace as the situation in Kabul deteriorated.’
The inquiry will be conducted by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, a cross-party team of MPs who scrutinise the Foreign Office, according to its Tory chair, Tom Tugendhat.
Mr Tugendhat, who served in Afghanistan, tweeted that ‘the evidence is already coming in’.
An FCDO source added that the Foreign Office was grateful to The Times for ‘sharing the information retrieved with us and working with us to enable us to get these three families to safety’.
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