MPs want NL to take in all Afghans who worked with Dutch troops
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, wants the Netherlands to take in all Afghan people who worked on Dutch missions, and not just interpreters. A D66 motion to that effect got support from ChristenUnie, SP, GroenLinks, PvdA, DENK and the CDA, NU.nl reports.
The cabinet said last week that it planned to only take in interpreters who worked with the Dutch troops who were until recently stationed in Afghanistan, saying that opening this to more groups would lead to an "uncontrollable increase" in asylum applications.
On Monday evening, the involved Ministers informed the Kamer that they were simplifying the procedures and processes by which interpreters can be brought to the Netherlands. "The cabinet assures the Kamer that it will do everything it can to manage the evacuation from Afghanistan well," Ministers Sigrid Kaag of Foreign Affairs, Ank Bijleveld of Defense, and State Secretary Ankie Broekers Knol of Asylum said in a letter to parliament.
Due to the urgent situation in Afghanistan, with the Taliban conquering the capital of Kabul on Sunday and thousands trying to feel the country to the extent that planes were unable to land at the Kabul airport, the cabinet decided to drop a number of requirements in the procedure for interpreters to come to the Netherlands. This includes the requirement that the Ministry of Defense needs to confirm that the applicant indeed worked as an interpreter for the Dutch Armed Forces. Asylum applicants and their family must have a passport or other valid identity documents.
Parliament wants this courtesy to be extended to everyone who worked with Dutch troops, including security guards and logistics workers.
The cabinet is "seriously concerned" about the situation of Afghans who worked for the Netherlands or allies, the Ministers said. The government is therefore in talks with NATO allies and EU partners to get everyone to safety as quickly as possible.
The Tweede Kamer will debate the situation in Afghanistan with the involved Ministers on Tuesday. The Kamer has been calling on the cabinet for months to bring interpreters to the Netherlands. They've been in danger since NATO troops started withdrawing from Afghanistan. The Taliban considers them traitors. So the cabinet can expect some to face some critical MPs.