Wednesday 25 May 2022

Afghan families lose court battle to force evacuation from Kabul

Statue of justice.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A court has rejected a bid by four Afghan families to force the Dutch state to evacuate them immediately from Kabul following the takeover of the country by the Taliban.

The 17 Afghan nationals argued that the Netherlands had a duty to pull them out of the country within two weeks because their lives were in danger. Lawyers for the Dutch state said they expected to be able to evacuate them within a month.

The court said it was unrealistic to demand that the government evacuate them sooner now that Kabul airport is in the hands of the Taliban.

Three of the applicants were sisters of a man who worked as an interpreter for Dutch troops before leaving for the Netherlands in 2015. Efforts to get them out of the country were hindered by the fact that not all families members had passports and they were unwilling to travel separately.

The fourth family is headed by the sister of an Afghan man who acquired Dutch nationality in 1999 and served six times in his native country with the Dutch army.

The government said the woman, who is a schoolteacher and campaigner for women’s rights in Afghanistan, would not be evacuated to the Netherlands because she had not worked for Dutch agencies.

She had argued her situation was covered by a motion passed by parliament in August in the name of D66 MP Salima Belhaj that widened the terms of eligibility for the evacuation list.

The court was shown emails from a Dutch official that said the woman had been included on the list because of her ‘high profile’, but judges rejected her claim that she qualified under the terms of the Belhaj motion. They remarked that her situation was ‘extremely unfortunate’.

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