Afghanistan: Dutch embassy's security guards on the run from the Taliban
Security guards who worked for the Dutch embassy in Kabul fear for their lives. They didn’t make it onto the Netherlands’ evacuation list and are now living on the run or in hiding from the Taliban, three guards who worked for the Dutch embassy for over ten years told RTL Nieuws, who used pseudonyms instead of their real names in the article.
“I worked for the Dutch embassy for 12 years,” said Ahmad. “We were promised: we will take you with us.” But the Netherlands did not keep that promise, he said. Cleaners from inside the embassy were evacuated, but the security guards were left behind.
Ahmad got attacked by someone with a bayonet on his way home one day. “I was assaulted and bayoneted.” He regained consciousness in the hospital. “Fortunately, it wasn’t my time yet. Now he is in hiding.
Mohammed, who worked for the Dutch embassy for 14 years, is also living in hiding. “One day, I wasn’t home. They took my father and tortured him. He’s back home now, but I don’t live there anymore. I now live with friends sometimes and sometimes elsewhere.”
Abdul, who worked for the Dutch embassy for 13 years, moves every few months, he told RTL. He doesn’t know what will happen when the Taliban finds him. He covers himself from head to toe every time he leaves the house. “Every time I tell my family: if I don’t come back, the Taliban got me.”
According to the Dutch government, the guards did not get evacuated because they were not directly contracted with the embassy. The Netherlands hired them through an intermediary.
“But that’s not a distinction the Taliban makes,” Sara de Jong, an Afghanistan expert at the University of York in the United Kingdom, said to the broadcaster. “It doesn’t matter to them whether you were directly or indirectly under contract. Their card simply has the Dutch flag.”
The security guards also worked out in the open, sometimes defending the Dutch embassy against the Taliban itself. “They stood in the middle of the street with heavy weapons all day long to defend the embassy,” De Jong said. “It’s good that cleaners got evacuated, but they worked inside and out of sight. It is reprehensible that the security guards are left behind.”
The three guards RTL Nieuws spoke to said they regret working for the Netherlands. “We’ve done a good job for you,” Amhad said. “Day and night. We assumed that one day you would do us that service too.”