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Committee likely to seek access to intelligence on Afghan crisis

Sources have claimed that Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee is expected to demand to see the secret intelligence analysis behind the west’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Chaired by the Tory MP Julian Lewis, the security watchdog has the power to demand intelligence documents and haul spies before it to give evidence.

With ministers claiming that they were caught unawares by speed of the Taliban takeover, the Guardian has reported that the committee’s members were ‘extremely likely’ to ask to see the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessments relating to Afghanistan. It is likely that this would prove whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab were right to say that the speed of the collapse of the Afghan government and takeover by the Taliban was not anticipated.

The Guardian reports that one source close to the ISC said there was already scepticism among those with knowledge of the intelligence community that Britain’s spies did not foresee the situation and warn that a swift takeover by the Taliban was at least a possibility.

Lewis declined to comment on the future programme of work for the UK committee, although he said in the House of Commons that the question of intelligence relating to Afghanistan was ‘pertinent’.

Dominic Grieve, a former chair of the committee, recently told the Guardian that it was up to the ISC whether to launch an investigation, but he believed it would be a ‘useful exercise’.

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