Dutch still stranded in Afghanistan: government is “seriously concerned”

Yesterday, a number of Dutch persons were evacuated from the fallen Afghan city of Kabul by Ukrainian planes. The Dutch Minister of Defense announced that military air crafts would be sent to bring remaining Dutch citizens to safety.

However, the aeroplane sent by the Ministry of Defense from the Netherlands wasn’t able to land in Kabul due to the unsafe situation at the airport, reports RTL Nieuws.

Dutch government is “seriously concerned”

In a letter to the House of Representatives, the outgoing ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Asylum (Sigrid Kraag, Ank Bijleveld, and Ankie Broekers-Knol respectively) wrote they are “seriously concerned” about the Dutch people currently in Afghanistan.

Their concern also extends to Afghans who have worked for the Netherlands as well as Dutch allies in Kabul.

Nevertheless, they have assured the public that they’ll do everything they can to complete the evacuation from Afghanistan.

“The military plane for evacuation from Kabul is delayed until further notice. This has to do with the local circumstances at Kabul airport.” and following up: “En route, the permission to land has been postponed. On the ground, priority is given to flying reinforcements in for airport security.”

Emergency team will be flown to Kabul today

The plan is that the embassy team currently stranded in Kabul will be replaced by an emergency team later today. The ambassador will fly in, together with the emergency team and military security personnel, to help with evacuations.

Preparations for this are currently being carried out in The Hague.

The Netherlands welcomes Afghan employees and asylum seekers

The letter also explains that paperwork for Afghans who’ve worked as interpreters for the Netherlands has been simplified to make their entry to the Netherlands smoother.

This means that, if the Ministry of Defense confirms they’ve worked for the Netherlands, the interpreters can enter the country by only showing their passport.

There have also been attempts to issue ‘laissez-passer’ documents (embassy issued certificates granting unrestricted movement) for people trying to leave Afghanistan. However, the Afghan authorities did not agree to these.

The Dutch Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) is also prepared to receive asylum seekers from Afghanistan and have made locations and barracks ready.

Agreements with the EU and NATO

In the letter, the ministers also confirm agreements made with the EU. In accordance with these, the Netherlands will receive Afghan employees of the EU delegation in Kabul, along with their families.

They’ve also extended a similar offer to NATO, confirming that the Netherlands is willing to accept local NATO employees from Kabul.

Debate in the Dutch House of Representatives and the EU Foreign Affairs Council

Today, the three ministers authoring the letter will attend a debate in the Dutch House of Representatives. They say “the events require reflection and raise many questions that must be answered in the coming period.”

In addition, the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister, Sigrid Kraag, is discussing the situation in Kabul with the Foreign Affairs Council. The Council brings together the foreign ministers of all EU member states.

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Feature Image: Ministerie van Defensie/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0

Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).

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