There have been three important disclosures so far from the foreign secretary's evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Actually, I should rephrase that: there were three big things relating to Britain's responsibility for the Afghanistan debacle that MPs failed to uncover.First, it has become clear that the government's failure to anticipate the precipitate collapse of Afghanistan's government and the Taliban's seizure of the entire country was a failure not of raw intelligence, but of the analysis of that intelligence.There was in effect a fan chart of different outcomes expected from the withdrawal of troops by the US and UK. The central projection was the Taliban takeover would take many months, not weeks.
But what MPs did not ask, and therefore were not told, is what risk weighting in the projections was attached to what actually transpired. We don't know if the materialised scenario - that is the total humiliation of the US and UK - was an outlier.This matters because it is hard to assess the relative competence - or incompetence - of the evacuation plans in the absence of knowing the probabilities attached to the various scenarios.Also Tom Tugenhadt and his MP colleagues have not gleaned who precisely was responsible for this significant analytical failure. Lessons can't be learned unless and until responsibility is attributed, either to the Joint Intelligence Committee or to other officials or to ministers.
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Second, Dominic Raab was explicitly vague about how many people in Afghanistan who have a right to come to the UK are still trapped there, saying only that maybe the number was in the low hundreds.Finally, he refused to reveal a precise time and date for his departure on holiday to Crete, making it impossible to evaluate whether that exit was before or after any reasonable person would have concluded that the situation in Afghanistan had reached red alert and therefore it would have been prudent for Mr Raab to remain at home.Or to put it another way, today's interrogation by MPs is clearly the beginning of difficulties for Mr Raab and the government, not the end.