The UK’s foreign secretary has denied reports suggesting he was paddleboarding on holiday when Kabul fell to the Taliban, saying “the sea was actually closed,” in an interview with Sky News published Wednesday.
Dominic Raab faced calls to quit after it was revealed he did not fly home from a luxury holiday on the Greek island of Crete to deal with the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.
He defended his actions in the Sky interview, saying “The stuff about me being lounging around on the beach all day is just nonsense.
“The stuff about me paddleboarding, nonsense, the sea was actually closed, it was a red notice.
“I was focused on the [emergency] COBR meetings, the Foreign Office team, the director and the director general, and the international engagement.”
He added that about 2,000 people had been flown back to the UK from Kabul’s airport in 24 hours.
Almost all British citizens in Afghanistan who do not hold dual nationality had been evacuated, he said.
Thousands of people have been crowding the airport since the extremist group took over the capital on August 15.
More than 9,200 people have been evacuated from Kabul and given refuge in the UK.