35 evacuated Dutch arrive at Schiphol; New embassy team in Kabul
A plane with 35 Dutch people evacuated from Afghanistan landed at Schiphol airport at around 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday. A new team for the Dutch embassy also arrived in Kabul on Wednesday. Their goal is to supervise and facilitate the evacuation process in Kabul, caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag said on Twitter.
A total of 50 Dutch people or people with a Dutch visa have now been evacuated from Afghanistan, which fell to the Taliban on Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted. These include the 35 who landed at Schiphol on Wednesday. Also on that C-17 transport plane were 16 Belgians, two Germans, and two Brits, NOS reports. They disembarked at Schiphol and were offered a place to sleep in the Netherlands.
A team of doctors and psychologists were waiting at the airport, to offer the evacuees whatever help they need. The evacuees will also be tested for the coronavirus.
The new Dutch embassy team consists of ambassador Caecilia Wijgers, a consular emergency team, and 62 military personnel, Kaag said. The team they are taking over for is already back in the Netherlands.
Earlier this week it became known that the embassy employees who are now being replaced were lifted from their beds by American soldiers during the early morning hours of Sunday. They were taken to the airport and left the country on Monday evening.
This was widely criticized because the local embassy staff were not warned of the evacuation. These Afghan embassy employees went to work on Sunday to find an abandoned embassy.
In the parliamentary debate on this crisis on Tuesday, Kaag said that this was due to a "communications breakdown" and not because of any ill will. "They had to leave immediately on instruction," she said about the Dutch embassy employees.
The Ministry of Defense aims to step up the evacuation process soon and pick up people in Kabul three times per day, according to NOS.