NO decent person could fail to have been appalled by the shifty performance of Dominic Raab at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee this week.

The political inquest into the fiasco of a seemingly unplanned withdrawal from Afghanistan will continue when Westminster resumes next week. The chaos and human suffering that we witnessed as desperate Afghans and their families sought to flee Kabul has been harrowing. The terrorist explosion and the horrific loss of life which followed was shocking but predictable. Now we learn that British staff on the ground may have sent Afghans forward to their deaths despite warnings about the attack.

I have no doubt that this was done unwittingly. British forces and civilian staff on the ground have conducted themselves with courage and dignity while their masters in the UK Government have behaved with extraordinary ineptitude – holidaying while others suffered unimaginably; being unaware of the number of UK nationals left behind; and being forced to admit that the security guards who guarded the British embassy are among hundreds, if not thousands, of Afghan citizens who, despite aiding the British, have now been left to their fate.

That Raab should be so clueless about the position on the ground came as no surprise to MPs and their staff who, the week before last, worked hard to assist the friends and families of constituents caught up in the crisis. Nor did the horrifying news that the Foreign Office email inbox to which we and others sent our desperate pleas for help was left unmonitored.

The National: Taliban special force fighters arrive inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the U.S. military's withdrawal, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. The Taliban were in full control of Kabul's international airport on Tuesday,

My office dealt with many cases in the desperate days before the last US transport left Kabul airport (above). These included requests from British Army officers stationed at the barracks in our constituency to help their former comrades, fellow Afghan officers left to fend for themselves once their usefulness had been outlived.

Church communities asked us to help Afghan Christians fleeing the Taliban. We also took up the cases of the families of Afghans who had worked for the British and who were eligible for the Afghan relocation and assistance policy but had been given no information and no assistance about how to access it from the British Government they had risked so much to assist.

These men had many dependents, children and elderly relatives. Some were in Kabul and some were at the airport. We weren’t able to help everyone and we don’t yet know the fate of those left behind, but what we do know is that our desperate efforts to help them were not met with the sort of response one might have expected from the Foreign Office because the email address we were given was an account no-one was even reading.

The National: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

One UK Government minister who acquitted himself well in the crisis was Ben Wallace )(above), the Defence Secretary. He gave worried MPs his personal email as a way to chase enquiries. It seemed a little odd at the time but now we know why.

The incompetence of the Foreign Secretary, incumbent in what used to be known as one of the great offices of state, is emblematic of what the British Government has become under this charlatan of a Prime Minister and of the endemic failure of the British state.

After the British embassy had been abandoned, we learned that the usual protocols of destroying sensitive information had not been followed and documents containing contact details and CVs for Afghan workers had been left scattered around for the Taliban to find.

Meantime, as my constituents and others look around to see what they can do to help those left behind and the influx of refugees to Europe and the Middle East that is likely, another great British cock-up is likely to stand in their way.

Yes, amid the worst foreign policy disaster in living memory, and a new migration crisis for Europe, Brexit has reared its ugly head to interfere with the attempts by Scottish charities to export humanitarian aid in order to help refugees.

REFUGEE Action Scotland (Re-Act) is a Scotland-wide charity based in my constituency and run by volunteers in Edinburgh, Fife, Falkirk and Aberdeen. Its main focus is the delivery of emergency aid to refugees in camps throughout Europe and the Middle East and assisting the resettlement and integration of New Scots.

The organisation is well-connected in the charity aid sector, providing support to refugees across Europe particularly in Greece and France. Prior to Brexit, it sent many containers of aid abroad each year as well as using its own lorries to deliver aid and support.

READ MORE: UK pledge to Afghanistan refugees 'nowhere near enough'

Now, as a result of Brexit, it is facing significant problems sending humanitarian aid to the very camps that many Afghan refugees are likely to end up in.

After support from my office, the charity successfully registered for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI) and sent its first pallet of aid to Greece since Brexit. This was a complex and difficult process, and each subsequent consignment will require customs paperwork. Unfortunately, despite the provisions in the UK-EU Co-operation and Trade Agreement, this first pallet of aid was subject to huge customs and VAT charges which have proved difficult to resolve.

Re-Act tells me charities across Scotland are facing similar problems and have been very daunted by the new customs requirements. It seems that at least part of the problem lies in EU rules of origin regulations. Goods made in the UK are eligible for zero-tariff sales in the EU but many of the clothes etc that charities seek to export are made elsewhere, for example China, and so fall foul of the regulations.

Humanitarian aid is supposed to be exempt from customs and VAT charges but complex customs arrangements have to be navigated and charities here have to ensure the recipient charities in the EU are properly registered with their government to receive such foreign aid free of customs duties.

There is an urgent need for charities, like businesses, to be able to attend export training tailored to the needs of exporting humanitarian aid.

The situation in Afghanistan is likely in a few weeks’ time to lead to a massive increase in the number of refugees arriving in Greece and elsewhere in Europe and the situation is therefore very critical. Scottish charities want to play their part in helping refugees in camps in Europe and it is vital that charities have the skills and confidence that they can export aid successfully.

The need is urgent.

I am hoping that the Scottish Government will be able to access UK Government funding to help to provide the training needed in short order to ensure people in Scotland can play their part in helping alleviate suffering.

The British Government will also need to step up to the plate to intercede with counterparts in the Greek government to ensure there are pathways of support available between charities in our two countries and to ensure that customs problems do not arise.

It would be unforgivable if the unintended consequences of Brexit were to undermine the efforts of Scots to help Afghan refugees and to make up for the appalling dereliction of duty by the British Government.