Kaag to travel to troubled region some time this week
Caretaker foreign minister Sigrid Kaag will be travelling to an undisclosed Central Asian country this week in an attempt to restart evacuations of Dutch and Afghan nationals to the Netherlands.
It is not known when Kaag will go and what exactly she will be doing in the region, sources told broadcaster NOS at the weekend.
Prime minister Mark Rutte announced earlier that the Netherlands would be in close consultation with its allies and other Central Asian countries about ways of helping Dutch and Afghan nationals out of the country.
The Netherlands has evacuated some 2,500 people since the Taliban takeover but hundreds have been left behind.
It is not known whether Kaag will be trying to talk to the Taliban directly.
Following talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel at the weekend Rutte said that the Netherlands will join efforts by Great Britain, Germany and France to establish a presence in Afghanistan as soon as the ‘political and security situation allows’.
Afghanistan expert Jorrit Kamminga said evacuations in the short term would be ‘out of the question’ and would have to wait until the country is politically more stable. People will have to leave in other ways ‘on foot or driving to neighbouring countries,’ Kamminga told the broadcaster.
Former diplomat Ed Kronenburg said a EU diplomatic mission to Afghanistan made up European heavyweights, such as European Council president Charles Michel, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and high representative for foreign affairs Josep Borrell might be able to secure guarantees for safe evacuations from the Taliban.
But that would be taking a great risk, Kamminga said, ‘Even if effective communication with the Taliban could be achieved, rescue operations for the remaining Dutch without American support would be very risky. You would have to trust the Taliban to allow the flights or even help facilitate them.’
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