For hundreds of lagging behind in Afghanistan, new hopes of evacuation to the Netherlands are new. The US reports that it has been given assurances from the Taliban that whoever wants to leave and welcome in another country can go.
The deal covers a hundred countries, including the Netherlands. It concerns passport holders, but also Afghans who have helped the countries concerned and are at risk of retaliation.
“Together with a hundred countries, we will be committed to allowing Dutch and Afghans who have worked for us, or are at risk, to travel freely to places outside Afghanistan,” said Deputy Minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Affairs). “We expect the Taliban to honour their guarantees and that these groups can travel freely.”
Declaration of Intent
How to take that promised free-guided form is still unclear. The Americans‘ initiative is for the time being a letter of intent, emphasizes the Department of State. The Netherlands has been left behind in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad with a Hercules transport plane. There may be evacuation flights from other airports in Afghanistan. Routes are also explored by land.
It doesn‘t seem that evacuations will be possible before this Tuesday, 31 August. It’s the date the Americans have to leave the Taliban. Thousands of soldiers and all equipment must have left.
Partly because of this, the Netherlands had to stop the evacuation of compatriots and Afghans who helped the Netherlands last Thursday morning. Next week, Foreign Affairs hopes to have a better picture of how many people in Afghanistan still qualify for evacuation. This includes Afghans with a public profile that are at extra risk of retribution by the Taliban, such as human rights defenders, women activists, journalists and activists. There are at least 30 Afghan interpreters left who worked for Dutch military missions.
Not a penny
With the agreement, the Taliban seems to have fled to the demands of Western countries and the threat that Afghanistan will become a pariah of the world if it does not meet those demands. Afghanistan doesn‘t have a penny to do at the moment. International isolation would push the country into the abyss and give the Taliban’s domestic enemies such as the warlords of the various tribes.
According to the agreement, it is now up to the countries themselves to provide the Afghans who have worked with them with the right papers so they can leave the country.