Secret British military papers have been found at a bus stop in the south of England, revealing plans for a warship’s controversial voyage off Crimea last week and a prolonged presence in Afghanistan.
The 50 pages of documents were found in a rain-soaked heap behind a bus stop in Kent early last Tuesday morning, according to the BBC, which said the Ministry of Defence had begun an investigation.
While some of the papers are categorized as “official sensitive,” a relatively low level of classification, one on Britain’s future plans in Afghanistan was marked “Secret UK Eyes Only,” and was addressed to the private secretary of Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
According to the BBC, the paper outlines “highly sensitive recommendations” for the U.K.’s military footprint in Afghanistan after NATO has followed U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw all forces by September 11 this year.
The document “discusses an American request for British assistance in several specific areas, and addresses the question of whether any British special forces will remain in Afghanistan once the withdrawal is complete,” BBC reported.
While no Britons have been killed in Afghanistan since Washington reached a deal with the Taliban in February 2020, the paper stated that “this would be unlikely to remain the status quo.”
The BBC said the papers also covered defense staff’s planning ahead of the passage of HMS Defender, a British navy destroyer, through contested waters off the Crimean coast last Wednesday.
The U.K. government denied claims by Moscow that a Russian ship fired warning shots while a jet dropped bombs in the destroyer’s path.
According to the papers found at the bus stop, British officials ruled out an option that would have avoided the contested waters altogether, which they said would have been portrayed by Russia as evidence of “the UK being scared/running away.”
A spokesperson for the ministry told BBC: “As the public would expect, the Ministry of Defence plans carefully. As a matter of routine, that includes analysing all the potential factors affecting operational decisions.”
The spokesperson also said that an employee had reported the loss of sensitive defence papers, adding: “It would be inappropriate to comment further.”
73 total views, 2 views today