It is highly lightly that the Netherlands will not be able to evacuate everyone the government has invited to leave Afghanistan, according to caretaker foreign minister Sigrid Kaag.
As American president Joe Biden told G7 leaders that US troops are ‘on pace’ to leave the country by August 31, after the Taliban takeover, hopes are fading that all Dutch people and staff will be able to leave.
There is ‘a large certainty’ that the Netherlands will not be able to complete its evacuations, Kaag told Dutch media on Wednesday, adding: ‘For a year already there has been very strong negative advice against travel to Afghanistan.’
However she has said the country is working against the clock to save every individual that it can, and together with other NATO allies, has tried to persuade America to extend the presence of its troops.
The Netherlands has evacuated 1,200 people already, according to the government, but although others are at the airport, there are still many problems. It is understood that Dutch special forces are involved with getting people to the airport, around clogged roads and Taliban checkpoints.
Although the Taliban has said it will not get in the way of foreign nationals, a spokesman has said it now does not want Afghan people to leave.
Kaag and Ank Bijleveld, caretaker defence minister, both criticised a protest near a refugee camp in De Harskamp yesterday. ‘People who come, who give things, who show that we have respect and are there for people in need are showing Dutch values,’ said Kaag.
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