Dutch FM asks U.S. to stay at Kabul airport as long as possible
For the large-scale evacuations from Kabul airport it is important that the American army remains there "as long as possible", said caretaker Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag. Kaag will call on the United States, together with a number of other countries, to do so, she said. "We depend on what the Americans do for everything. They coordinate with the Taliban." Germany thinks exactly the same, said the Minister.
The government's main concern now is to get "the people we want to bring here" on a plane as quickly as possible, Kaag made clear. That's easier said than done, given the chaos around Kabul's airport.
The Netherlands sent 62 soldiers to Kabul to speed up the evacuations. These commandos and marines will not leave the airport because the roads there are under Taliban control, said caretaker Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld. People who are allowed to leave the country with a Dutch Defense plane must therefore make their own way to the airport. That happened successfully last night, said Bijleveld. "We are doing everything we can to get people on the plane."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that dozens of people were taken away by the plane that dropped off the ambassador, an emergency consular team and the 62 soldiers in Kabul on Wednesday. They were taken to an unnamed country in the region. Some of them have a Dutch passport. More flights will follow. "We can now shuttle," said Bijleveld.
In addition to its own citizens, the Netherlands wants to evacuate Afghans who worked for our country for a long time, including their families. It is not yet clear how many people this involves. That was also "not important for the decision-making", said caretaker State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol (Justice and Security). "The point is that people who are now in need and who have worked for the Netherlands can be rescued in this way and find a safe haven here."
Reporting by ANP