Netherlands plans to evacuate more people from Afghanistan
The caretaker Cabinet and the former coalition parties are discussing options for evacuating a larger group from Afghanistan. The criteria are still being refined, but as the plans are now, the number of people eligible for evacuation could approach 2,000. Sources close to the government confirmed this after a report from NOS.
After the Taliban took over in August, a parliamentary majority called on the Cabinet to evacuate Afghans who worked in Dutch service over the years. There was already an arrangement to evacuate interpreters, and a proposal by D66 parliamentarian Salima Belhaj to also help other professional groups received broad support. Until now, the Cabinet assumed that a few dozen Afghans would fall under this motion.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received many thousands of requests for assistance. Aid and human rights organizations also pointed out people at risk under the new rulers. The Cabinet is now examining, among other things, how long and how substantially all these people served the Dutch cause, for example, in support of military missions or development projects in Afghanistan. MPs from the D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie discussed this with the relevant Ministers on Wednesday.
According to insiders, the government's commitment is to bring 1,000 to 2,000 people to the Netherlands. This also includes the family members of those eligible for evacuation. The involved Ministers will make a final decision in the Council of Ministers on Friday.
Reporting by ANP