Almost all local Afghan embassy staff – and their families – will be evacuated on Saturday. This is about 207 people who come to the Netherlands on various trips. Earlier they stayed behind while the Dutch diplomats were rescued.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the evacuation of more than 200 Afghans who worked for the Netherlands, after news of this from the Norwegian Refugee Council.
This is a boost to the Dutch mission. A lot of criticism was leveled last week for the evacuation of Dutch embassy staff from Kabul. They were able to get them to safety last weekend, but the Afghan staff were not arrested at the time. According to reports, the Dutch diplomats left “like a thief in the night”, leaving the local staff behind. Now they are still being taken to safety. According to the State Department, this pertains to “almost all” employees and their families. It is unclear why they were able to move them to safety today.
Since the Dutch evacuation began last Wednesday, 118 people have been added to the Dutch list of defense aircraft, and 17 people have been allowed to use Allied aircraft. This number does not include people who were able to take a flight today. It concerns people with a Dutch passport and therefore also Afghans who worked in the Netherlands as translators, guards or cooks.
At Willem Lodewijk van Nassaukazerne in Zoutkamp (Groningen), where the last group was received, there are now 78 Afghan evacuees. A total of 368 people from Kabul were helped by the defense, many of whom also had to move to other countries.
The afternoon flight had another set (exact number unknown) from the Dutch evacuation list. This concerns Dutch nationals who have been on (family) visits in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan interpreters and other personnel of military missions. In total there is still Seven hundred people hold Dutch passports in AfghanistanIn addition, the Netherlands wants to bring hundreds of Afghan aides and their families here.
Therefore, the defense has an airlift from the Afghan capital, Kabul. People are transported to a safe country in the region, and from there they go to the Netherlands on a larger plane. According to the schedule, there will be three flights per day. The Department of Defense has two C-130 aircraft available for this purpose. One has been broken since Thursday.
There is a Dutch embassy team on site with over sixty military security personnel and we are looking for all alternatives to get people to safety in a timely manner.
Attention to detail
The situation in and around the airport in Kabul remains precarious. People are slowly making it to the airport, the Taliban are manning the roads, and the airport gates are sometimes closed completely due to the massive influx of refugees.
Some countries are now collecting evacuees – under heavy military security – just outside the airport, for example from a nearby hotel. But as far as is known, the Netherlands has not yet dared to do so, although the spokesperson cannot comment on this “in the context of the safety of the people there”. “What I can say is: There is a Dutch embassy team on site with over sixty military security personnel, and we are looking at all alternatives to get people to safety in a timely manner.”
A Department of Defense spokesperson said: “We make no statements about what we do or do not do, it is a high security outing. The situation is chaotic and fragile. Overreporting may jeopardize mission progress and put the safety of our staff and evacuees at risk.”
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