The cabinet has ignored emergency calls from Afghan embassy staff for months. This would be evident from correspondence between Kabul and The Hague, which de Volkskrant holds.
According to the newspaper, the ambassador and local staff members have been begging for preparations since March 2020 so that they and their family could leave quickly if the Talibans advance continued.
But ministers Kaag (Foreign Affairs) and Bijleveld (Defence) and Secretary of State Broekers-Knol (Asylum Affairs) did not decide until two days before the fall of the Afghan capital on the time when local employees of the embassy and their families would be put to safety. and whether “resident and dependent family members” were allowed to travel. Among them were staff who worked for the Netherlands for twenty years, writes de Volkskrant.
The State Department tells deCCeit that it does not share the conclusions from the article. It states that the embassy staff worked for as long as possible, as they were needed to handle the interpreting scheme. Also, Kabuls fall would have come “unforeseen fast”.
The ministry says that all 37 local employees, with their partner and children, had been evacuated four days after taking the city. A total of 210 people. In doing so, the government would have adhered to its decision of 9 July this year to help these people with their “nuclear family” as soon as possible.
According to the fact story that the cabinet sent to the House last week, on 14 August, a day before the fall of Kabul, decided that some “live-in and dependent relatives”, who are not part of the “nuclear family”, were also allowed to travel with them, because the embassy staff had no time to put them to safety elsewhere. But the cabinet said that the evacuation was generally confined to the “nuclear family”.
Parliamentary debate postponed
At the start of the debate on Afghanistan with Prime Minister Rutte and Kaag, Bijleveld and Broekers-Knol, the Chamber asked for a postponement. There was another letter from the last three executives late last night. The MPs want more time to read it. They also want to have additional pieces as a result of the article in de Volkskrant. At 2pm, the Chamber reunited. The MPs will then decide if they have sufficient information to start the debate.
Last nights letter states, among other things, that not all Afghans who have worked for the Netherlands can be evacuated in the coming time, as conditions have deteriorated too much. It also states that 22 interpreters and their families have been left behind.
The Chamber wants an independent investigation into the evacuations from Afghanistan.