Afghan Dutchmen who have remained in Kabul after the withdrawal of foreign troops have little or little contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is evident from discussions DecceIT had with Dutch people who have stayed behind in Afghanistan.
“We can only wait and see,” says an Afghan-Dutch man by phone from Kabul. He is curious if there is still a diplomatic arrangement with the Taliban, which will allow him to return with his Dutch passport, but he fears the worst. “You can‘t do anything. I’m a little trapped.”
Internationally, the evacuation of lagging behind is being discussed at the highest level. Foreign Minister Kaag left for Qatar yesterday for consultations on developments in Afghanistan. She then visits Pakistan and Turkey. She discusses with colleagues how to evacuate behind people.
The man in Kabul has an Afghan wife and five young children. With the help of a Dutch WhatsApp group, he was on the Foreign Affairs list with his family. But he was late at the airport to get away with the last flights.
Right in time
He hasn‘t heard from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs anymore. He has traumatic memories of that. “That suicide bomb at the airport was close to where my wife and I had been, a few hours before. I saw a picture of wounded women my wife had been talking to. So the warning to get out of there was just in time.”
He doesn’t dare to flee overland with his family. “I am from the Panjshir Valley, the only place where resistance is committed against the Taliban. We‘re considered enemy. Most members of my family worked for the former government, and they are now all on the run. Everyone is trying to save themselves.”
Listen to the rest of his story in this audio clip:
He asks if we want to make his voice beyond recognition. The hardest thing he finds is that so slowly everyone is suspicious of each other. A decent escape route depends on people you can trust, even if it’s just because you pay them money. “If I call one of my cousins and ask, are you at home? Then he says no even when he‘s home. Everyone is trying to save themselves.”
There are also Afghans who have been evacuated to the Netherlands last week and had to leave their wives and children behind. We speak to an Afghan who has serious doubts about what is more dangerous: keeping the family in Kabul under the Taliban or sending his wife and children to a border area?
“I heard that the Germans have a deal with Uzbekistan that Afghans can cross the border with a German passport. Maybe that’s true for my family too. But then I have to hear from the Dutch government that it is. Otherwise, I don‘t dare to send them on the road.”
Prime Minister Rutte announced yesterday when visiting French President Macron that Afghan transfers that are on the evacuation list, such as interpreters, should be “resumed as soon as possible”. Afghans fleeing to a neighbouring country, such as Pakistan, cannot automatically assume that they can come directly to the Netherlands, Rutte said.
The Afghan in the Netherlands is particularly angry with the Dutch government. “Every ministry and service we contact with in the Netherlands does not answer. They ignore you.”
He also hasn’t heard from Foreign Affairs since the Dutch left the airport, he says in this audio clip: