A second attempt to evacuate Dutch citizens from Kabul’s airport has failed once again, leaving families behind at the gate. The city has now been held by the Taliban for four days.
A large cargo plane was sent by the Ministry of Defense to evacuate Dutch citizens waiting at Kabul airport last night. However, the huge aircraft took off with only 40 people on board — none of whom were either Dutch or Afghan, the ministry tells the NOS.
A lack of clarity
According to reports by the NOS, there are a number of reasons why the evacuation efforts failed. One source tells the news agency that American soldiers fired shots at the airport yesterday afternoon. One person was killed as a result and this is believed to have led to a tightening of security at the airport.
The soldiers are also reported to have stopped Afghans from entering the airport. On top of this, many Dutch citizens could not reach the airport due to bad traffic, according to social media reports.
Those who could make it to the airport were met with many constraints. Aryan (20) tells the NOS about his family’s efforts to make it to the aircraft. His parents, 17-year-old sister, and 3-year-old brother had been visiting family in Kabul when the city fell.
Aryan’s family made it to the gate but they were stopped by the American soldiers on guard.
“I showed my passport there and said that I am Dutch. There was a lot of noise, I did not hear very well what the American was saying. After I said three times that I am Dutch, he said that I had to keep my distance or he would shoot. I decided to leave. I didn’t want to risk being shot.”
Aryan’s family were not the only ones left waiting at the gate. Outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigrid Kaag, described the situation at the airport as “fluid and chaotic” explaining that the Dutch aircraft was only allowed 30 minutes to board its passengers. As a result, “a lot of people were standing at the gate of the airport.”
Hopefully better today
Today, another evacuation effort will be made with 60 Dutch soldiers involved. Kaag hopes that the aircraft will be allowed more time to carry out the evacuation, but explains that this is all in the hands of the Americans at the airport.
“We want the Americans to give us more time. There must be more time than half an hour. We will continue to work in a European context on better coordination”, she says.
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