Dutch minister of foreign affairs steps down due to handling of Afghanistan evacuations

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigrid Kaag, has decided to step down from her position due to heavy criticism of the Netherlands’ response to the fall of the Afghan city of Kabul.

Earlier this week, the NOS reported that the Dutch government had been receiving pleas to begin evacuation efforts from the Afghan city of Kabul since March 2020.

Dutch embassy staff in Afghanistan made pleas for the government to begin an evacuation plan as it became clear that the Taliban were advancing on the city.

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

However, it was not until two days before the fall of the city that the Dutch government began to decide on when the embassy employees and their families would be evacuated.

As of last week, it was reported that approximately 22 interpreters and their families were left behind in Afghanistan by the end of evacuation efforts.

Responsible for this

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kaag is seen as ultimately responsible for the Dutch response to the situation. As a result, a motion to censure Kaag was passed last night by the House of Representatives. After this, she immediately offered her resignation from the role.

Kaag, who is also the leader of D66 (Democrats 66) has been praised by many political parties within the House of Representatives for her decision. With Groenlinks leader, Jesse Klaver saying “Sigrid Kaag takes her responsibility for the Dutch actions in Afghanistan with her head held high”, the NOS reports.

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Feature Image: Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken/Wikimedia Commons/CC2.0

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


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