The UK foreign secretary, who was spotted on a Greek beach the day Afghanistan fell, said he wouldn't have gone on vacation if he knew how fast the Taliban was moving

Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs walks through the gates of Downing Street on May 27, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Pinney/Getty Images)
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Rob Pinney/Getty Images
  • Dominic Raab was seen lounging on a beach in Greece when the Taliban took Kabul.

  • He was criticized for failing to make any statement as the crisis unfolded.

  • He said "in retrospect" he would not have gone if he'd known how quickly the Taliban were advancing.

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The UK foreign secretary, who was found lounging on a Greek beach the day Afghanistan fell, has said that he would not have gone if he'd known how quickly the Taliban were advancing through the country.

Raab was spotted relaxing at a luxury resort in Crete on Sunday, the same day the Taliban retook Kabul and the Afghan presidential palace, The Telegraph reported.

An eyewitness said they saw Raab at a five-star hotel and then on a beach before flying back to London later that day from a nearby airport.

On Tuesday, Raab said that "in retrospect" he would not have gone on vacation but said he did not know how quickly the Taliban were advancing towards Kabul.

"We didn't predict that we would be doing this on this scale because of the Taliban takeover," he told "BBC Breakfast." "But look, in retrospect, of course I wouldn't have gone on holiday if I had known that would be the case."

"Equally, after 18 months and two years of a very grueling, demanding schedule, I think it is right that people in those positions try and take some leave, but we are always ready - I'm always ready - to come back."

"And even when I was away, frankly I wouldn't have gone away if I would have known that, I was constantly handling and managing meetings, talking to foreign counterparts, and because of technology, of course, able to engage in every one of the Cobra meetings," he said, referring to the UK government's Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms, which are used for government crises.

Raab had been criticized by a member of his own party over his failure to return to work before Sunday.

Speaking ahead of Raab's return to the UK on Sunday, Tom Tugendhat, a Conservative MP and chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said he didn't know how the UK Foreign Office would respond to the crisis because Raab had not issued any statements.

"I don't know what is in the works because we haven't heard from the foreign secretary in about a week despite this being the biggest single policy disaster since Suez," he told BBC News, referring to the 1956 Suez Crisis, in which when the UK was forced into a catastrophic retreat after invading Egypt.

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