Dutch ministries had been warned months in advance about situation in Afghanistan
The Dutch ministries had time to better coordinate the evacuation out of Afghanistan, Trouw reported. Unions, veterans and other sources had alerted the Dutch government months in advance about what would occur in August in Afghanistan.
“We must focus intensively on picking up people in Afghanistan”, former leader of the military union AFMP Anne-Marie Snels told the Ministry of Defense in Spring. In response, the ministry told her they were already working on it.
Snels also did not receive clarity from the defense ministry on the number of people that worked for the Netherlands in Afghanistan and how many had already been brought to the Netherlands.
“Time is running out”, 17 organizations wrote in a collective letter to the government on June 1. They called for Afghans who helped the Netherlands to be evacuated as soon as possible.
“If it does not happen quickly then, we know one thing for sure: they will be murdered”, chair of trade union for civil and military defense workers (VBM) Jean Debie said in May.
Interpreters had to undergo a lengthy procedure to be put on the evacuation list. They also had to bring the necessary documents to the Dutch embassy in Kabul, a dangerous journey due to the presence of the Taliban. Debie and AFMP trade union chair Ton van den Berg said that, if needed, interpreters should be picked up with the helicopter.
Throughout June, July and August multiple organizations, veterans and MPs pushed for the government to speed up the Afghanistan evacuation. They were often referred to a different ministry for their questions.
Largescale evacuations out of Kabul began on August 18, three days after the Afghan capital fell into the hands of the Taliban. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag said she was also not happy with the evacuation process, but “it would be unfair to suggest that we would knowingly delay the evacuation. We have been ambushed.”
In total, around 1,600 people with the Netherlands as their final destination were flown out of Afghanistan on 32 flights. The last flight left on August 26. It was estimated that more than 200 people on the evacuation list were left behind.