“Since April, over 11,000 people given safe passage back to the UK. It’s never been done before and no country has done better.”
That was the claim from the foreign secretary Dominic Raab on Sky News yesterday morning as he faced questions about his handling of the evacuation of British nationals and allies from Afghanistan. He made a near-identical comment on Times Radio.
The 11,000 figure is consistent with what he and other ministers had said previously, though at the moment we’re relying on the government’s own estimates. But even assuming it’s correct, it’s at odds with available data.
In a single twenty-four hour period this week, the US military brought “approximately 12,700 evacuees” out of the country, according to the White House. That’s more in one day than Mr Raab said the UK had evacuated since April.
It could be that Mr Raab had some other metric of success in mind. We’ve asked the Foreign Office for comment and will update this article if they get back to us.