Dutch cabinet warned in December that Afghanistan will fall to Taliban
The military intelligence service MIVD has been warning since December 2020 that it was probably only a matter of time before the government in Afghanistan would be ousted by the Taliban. But the service did not foresee it happening so quickly, Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs said in a statement of facts sent to parliament.
The military intelligence service wrote in December that the chances of the Afghan government falling sooner or later increased. "It is a scenario of postponement of execution," was stated the letter to parliament. There were increasing concerns about the sustainability of the Afghan government, partly because the Americans announced their withdrawal from the country.
As early as March, the options were considered for evacuating people from Afghanistan if the security situation deteriorated further, also prompted by concerns from other countries. At the end of April, it was determined that evacuation was actually only possible via the airport in the capital. Still, it would be months before it became clear to the government that military planes had to be deployed. The MIVD thought that Kabul would remain accessible for some time.
On 10 August, it was thought that there was at least three to six months to evacuate with scheduled flights or charters. On Thursday, 12 August, the MIVD warned that evacuation could become impossible sooner. That Friday, commercial flights were still being considered, but on Saturday the Defense Ministry offered that military aircraft could be used. On Sunday, 15 August, Kabul fell and the airport closed. Commercial flights were no longer allowed.
It would take two days before the evacuations under the protection of a large number of American soldiers started again in fits and starts. Ultimately, in just over a week, more than 2,000 people were led out of the country under life-threatening circumstances. As far as is known, there are over 20,000 names on the lists of people whom the Netherlands actually wanted to evacuate.
Of the over 2,000 people the Netherlands evacuated from Afghanistan, 1,673 people stayed in the Netherlands, the Ministries also said in their statement of facts. The evacuation process was very chaotic, with many people being left behind. NOS spoke to at least six families who were on the Netherlands' evacuation lists, but were turned away from the airport in Kabul by Dutch soldiers. According to them, the Dutch soldiers didn't have interpreters with them, so couldn't read Afghan ID cards. Three of those families are still stuck in Afghanistan.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.