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Britain’s top diplomat pressured to resign following luxury vacation while Afghanistan fell

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab leaves Downing Street on Aug. 19 in London. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

LONDON — British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is facing growing calls to resign following his alleged failure to help evacuate interpreters, who had worked for Britain, as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban while he vacationed last week on the Greek island of Crete.

Raab reportedly did not make a crucial phone call to his Afghan counterpart that could have supported the interpreters in their efforts to leave the country as it was descending into violent chaos. Britain’s top diplomat had been advised to make the call on Friday, Aug. 13, according to British media. He returned home Sunday, the day Kabul was taken over by the Taliban.

The Foreign Office said the call had been delegated to a junior minister but later told the BBC that it “was not possible to arrange a call” before the Western-backed Afghan government collapsed due to the “rapidly changing situation.”

[Nearly 20 years of war, 10 days to fall: Afghanistan, by numbers]

Some social media users, including the opposition Labour Party, used the hashtag #RaabMustResign in their posts. The Labour Party called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to fire Raab if he would not resign.

“Who wouldn’t make a phone call if they were told it could save somebody’s life?” tweeted Labour leader Keir Starmer.

“How can Boris Johnson allow the Foreign Secretary to continue in his role after yet another catastrophic failure of judgement?” tweeted Lisa Nandy, a senior Labour lawmaker who speaks on foreign policy for the party.

“Raab ’refused to take calls’ during fall of Afghanistan,” read the front page of the Guardian newspaper on Friday.

Criticism of Raab did not just come from the left. One unidentified lawmaker from Raab’s governing Conservative Party reportedly told the Guardian that Raab’s position was now “untenable.”

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