Opposition parties and coalition strongly criticise demissionary Secretary of State Broekers-Knol of Justice and Security (VVD) for an interview in the AD. In it she says that there may be 100,000 Afghans want to come to the Netherlands and that such an exodus could lead to a “brain drain” in Afghanistan.
D66 MP Belhaj calls the interview “bizarre”. Belhaj was one of the driving forces behind a call to the cabinet to accommodate Afghans if they are in danger because they worked for the Netherlands. “Only have one word for her sayings: horrible.”
After the Taliban takeover of power in Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry received a total of around 23,000 emails with requests for help. How many individual senders are behind those emails is not yet clear. For sure, many people have sent more than one email, but also that many requests are about more than one person.
Broekers-Knol makes a mathematical sum in the interview: “If those 23,000 emails are all from one person, and they all want to bring their families – times five, I always count – that‘s 100,000 people. My honest answer is no. We can’t handle that.”
According to CDA MP Boswijk, “swinging with potential 100,000 refugees is really nonsense”. Boswijk himself helped evacuations from Kabul from the Netherlands. “If you talk to the NGOs, you know that the numbers are much lower. And it doesn‘t seem wise to take over the Taliban frame, the brain drain. This interview will only cause deception and a lot of noise.”
The Taliban have used the braindrain argument in recent times to prevent people from leaving. Highly trained Afghans are needed to build the country, the extremist organization states.
MP Piri of the PvdA thinks the interview “mindless and heartless”. And MP Cedar of the Christian Union speaks of “very inappropriate and painful statements by Secretary of State Broekers-Knol”. Think group chairman Azarkan calls it an “unlikely sad and mean interview”.
The Secretary of State “does not only make statements that the Taliban himself makes, she also spreads with numbers that are wrong,” says Volt-MP Koekkoek. “She doesn’t do justice to Afghans, but neither does her office.” Volt wants explanation from demissionary Prime Minister Rutte.
In the aftermath of the laborious Dutch evacuation operation in Afghanistan, two members of the government have resurrected. At first, only Foreign Minister Kaag resigned, but a day later Minister Bijleveld of Defence also followed.