In the House of Representatives, a lot of outrage has arisen over the report that the Netherlands would be willing to pay the salaries of care and education officials in Afghanistan. The reason is a diplomatic visit by Germany and the Netherlands to the Taliban.
PVV leader Wilders called outmissionary Minister of Foreign Affairs Knapen to the House of Representatives for this purpose. “We‘re not going to support terrorist organization directly or indirectly, are we? Are we going to do that at IS and al-Qaeda too?” Wilders asked the minister. “There is a health crisis in the Netherlands and then we are going to give money to healthcare in Afghanistan. Did the minister go crazy?”
Last Friday, a Taliban spokesperson sent a tweet containing the English text: “We appreciate the initiative of Germany and the Netherlands to pay the salaries of all male and female staff members in the care and education sector.”
It is about this tweet, containing the official document by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the discussions about this:
Minister Knapen says this tweet is not a good representation of the facts. “Mr. Wilders is very right with his question “have you gone crazy,” said Knapen. “I must say I was pretty shocked by that Taliban tweet too.”
The Taliban’s lecture does not match reality, he says. There are talks with the Taliban about a free passage of Afghans who are entitled to asylum in other countries. In addition, the international community is looking at whether funding through the World Bank of care, education and other humanitarian goals is possible.
“There should be no famine out. That‘s in no one’s interest. Afghanistan should not become a terrorist base either. And education for girls should not collapse either,” says Knapen. “And it‘s annoying but the Taliban are the boss there, so we can’t get around that.”
Not only PVV, also VVD, CDA, D66 and SP are questioning these talks about financing institutions under the power of the Taliban. D66 is afraid of blackmail: free passage of Afghan interpreters in exchange for money. VVD MP Brekelmans: “This seems that we are going to pay structural care and education there. In doing so, we lighten the Taliban‘s budget.”
Knapen says that is not the intention, and that assistance is being sought outside the Taliban. He could not give a clear definition of when it was involved. “The World Bank is struggling with that too,” says Knapen. “But we didn’t commit anything. We didn‘t go there with a bag of money. We’re exploring possibilities.”