DOWNING Street has denied reports that the British evacuation operation in Kabul lead to a gate at the airport remaining open prior to the terror attack.
As reported by Politico yesterday, leaked reports from the US detail plans to close the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International airport, over fears of a “mass casualty” event.
Subsequently a suicide bomber detonated explosives which killed almost 200 people, including 13 US troops and two British citizens last Thursday.
According to the leaked documents, which detail a series of calls between US military commanders, they had planned to close Abbey Gate by the Thursday afternoon, but this was then delayed to allow British allies to keep evacuating personnel.
A call took place around 12.30am, according to reports, detailing measures to close the gate however the UK had accelerated its withdrawal efforts at the nearby Baron Hotel and the gate remained open.
The suicide bomber launched his attack at 6pm on Thursday evening.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman, asked if the UK pushed to keep the gate open, said: “It’s simply not true to suggest that we pushed to keep the gate open.
“In response to the change in travel advice ahead of the attack last week the UK moved operations out of the Baron Hotel.”
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith is one of several senior MPs to blame Joe Biden for the terror attack on August 26.
Speaking on the radio this morning, he said: “President Biden was responsible for those decisions which, I believe, were critical in the course of the events that we’ve seen unfolding.”
On the leaked reports, he said: “I do think now to attempt to try and brief against the UK on the suicide bombing is reprehensible really, because, you know, if the American government or the American military were very serious about shutting the gates, they would have shut the gates.
“I think this idea that it was down to the idea that the British were begging them to keep them open, I think is a little bit mean-spirited on them and probably wrong.”
Downing Street dismissed claims that relations between the UK and US are strained, with a spokesman pointing to the “very close work the UK and US have achieved during this evacuation period”.
Asked about the state of relations, he said: “The US continues to be our strongest ally and we work with them extremely closely as I said, very clearly in the last few weeks.”