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Dominic Raab is likely to be in for a bumpy ride as he appears in front of Tom Tugendhat’s Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon. The Foreign Secretary has come under widespread criticism for his performance — and location — during the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Calls for an inquiry into the crisis may grow louder.
Inquiries do different things depending on their remit and an investigation into the last 20 years of fighting in the country could conceivably take another two decades. The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War was announced by Gordon Brown in 2009, and reported days after the EU referendum. Lessons can and must be learned from Afghanistan, but any inquiry should be a focused one on the events of the last few weeks.
That is not to say that British foreign policy is in a good place. In self-imposed exile from Europe and grasping for a United States in one of its retrenchment phases, it is unclear what our diplomatic stance is on a range of strategic areas. A little less “Global Britain” talk and a little more real talk about our priorities and capabilities, alongside a thorough investigation of what went wrong in the final weeks in Kabul, should keep the Foreign Secretary busy until his next holiday.