Taliban arrested an Afghan waiting for evacuation to Netherlands
The Taliban arrested a man in the Afghan city of Herat who requested evacuation to the Netherlands multiple times, NU.nl reports after speaking to relatives of the man. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, is debating Afghan evacuations on Thursday. A total of 1,191 people are still waiting in Afghanistan for evacuation to the Netherlands.
The arrested man is 32 years old and worked as a guard on projects set up from the Netherlands by Dutch-Afghan Saleh Rozbeh from Bergen op Zoom, according to NU.nl. The projects include a girls' school and several saffron- and fruit tree nurseries. The arrested man is married to Rozbeh's niece.
The man was arrested on January 31 at a checkpoint in Herat. He had been in hiding since the Taliban took power in August. He was caught on his way to his wife, who was also in hiding. Sinde then, there's been no contact with him. "We know he is in the hands of the Taliban," Rozbeh said. "Negotiations for his release have yielded nothing."
The man and his family applied for evacuation to the Netherlands multiple times but were told no time and again. "We have worked shoulder to shoulder with the Dutch on building a modern, democratic Afghanistan," Rozbeh said. He appealed to the government to evacuate his family after all.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet informed the Tweede Kamer that 1,191 people are still waiting in Afghanistan to be evacuated to the Netherlands. Another 1,239 people have been brought to the Netherlands since the evacuation began in August.
Among those left behind are 200 DUtch citizens or people with a right of residence in the Netherlands. According to the Cabinet, 330 people from Afghanistan are still waiting in another country for their trip to the Netherlands. In the past six months, Afghans mainly came to the Netherlands via Pakistan, Iran, and Qatar.
It is "difficult to predict" how long it will take to get all people out of Afghanistan, Ministers Wopke Hoekstra (Foreign Affairs) and Kajsa Ollongren (Defense) and State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) said in the letter.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.