Photo of Minister carrying Afghan memo bidding farewell to Karzai

A senior minister has accidentally revealed a UK government briefing document “welcoming” the departure of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell was photographed clutching the note as he left No 10. It said the UK should “publicly and privately” approve Mr Karzai’s decision not to seek a third term in 2014.

In response, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the memo was “pretty low level”, adding “these things happen”.

These things happen – like clicking a link in a phishing email or giving your credit card info to someone who just rang you up from Nigeria.

Mr Mitchell was photographed leaving Downing Street following a meeting of the National Security Council – in which ministers discussed Libya, Afghanistan and a range of other issues.

The document says: “Note that Karzai has publicly stated his intention to step down at the end of his second term as per the constitution. This is very important. It improves Afghanistan’s political prospects very significantly. We should welcome Karzai’s announcement in private and in public…”

It goes on to say: “Afghan perceptions of violence are very important for their confidence in their future, and for their readiness to work for the Afghan government.

Have we got the strategic communications on levels of violence right?…”

“They would have had a national security level marking of ‘restricted’ or ‘confidential’ if they contained anything of significant sensitivity,” a spokesman said.

Not that the Brits have the market cornered on incompetent security. Still, they should add another level of secure classification. In addition to Top Secret, Restricted or Confidential, they might consider Don’t Do Anything Stupid!

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