Dutch stuck in Afghanistan includes fmr. asylum seekers; “Incomprehensible”, says Defense Min.
Among the people the Netherlands evacuated and still need to evacuate from Afghanistan, were over 1,250 Dutch citizens with Afghan roots. They were in the country visiting relatives, among other things, when it fell to the Taliban. Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld called this "incomprehensible".
When the evacuation was underway, the cabinet was surprised by the number of Dutch people visiting Afghanistan despite the negative travel advice for the country, Bijleveld said before the start of the Council of Ministers on Friday. "I sometimes find it incomprehensible that people, while they fled and came here, eventually went back there again, while the situation was already not good," she said.
Up until evacuation flights were forced to stop last week Thursday, the Netherlands evacuated 2,500 people from Afghanistan, including 1,600 people who had the Netherlands as a final destination. Hundreds of people on the Netherlands' evacuation list were left behind.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently in contact with about 600 people in Afghanistan that it wants to help evacuate. About 500 of these are Dutch nationals, refugees with a residency permit in the Netherlands, and family members eligible for family reunification, NOS reports.
The list also includes two local embassy employees and about 23 Afghan employees of the European Union, NATO, or the United Nations, about whom it was agreed that they can come to the Netherlands. Then there are 56 Afghans who became eligible for evacuation thanks to a D66 motion to also offer help to Afghan cooks and guards who worked on Dutch missions, judicial employees, drivers, journalists, and employees of Dutch development projects, among others.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told NOS that it has a "dynamic list" of names, from which people are also removed and others are added. A call team of 50 employees is doing its best to keep in touch with this group. They will be evacuated once evacuations become possible again.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.