The government announced today that around 2100 people are being evacuated from Afghanistan. It is not clear whether everyone who meets the criteria in the Letter of Parliament is actually on the evacuation list. News Hour spoke to a man who worked as a communications strategist for Crosswise Works for almost a year, a project funded by the State Department. He doesnt know if his name is on the list.
The man fears for his life and that of his pregnant wife. For security reasons, he wants to remain anonymous. His name is known at the editors.
“We only go outside in an emergency. Its awful right now. The Taliban did say they would not act against those who had worked with the foreigners, but that is not true. Theyre already looking for people who have only spent one day with foreign organizations.”
The Letter of Parliament talks about two groups that are eligible for evacuation. It concerns the interpreters and other “high profile” employees of the Dutch troops, as well as NGO employees with a visible profile and a direct link with the Netherlands.
The man who spoke to News Hour has been working for Crosswise Works for almost a year now. “I contacted the State Department. Thats where they told us to be patient. And not something concrete like: youre on the evacuation list. If I dont get evacuated, then in the end theres no one to let you know Im dead.
According to Anne Kwakkenbos of aid organization Cordaid, there are many questions left. “Does this mean delineation? Does that mean it stays here?” More clarity is needed about the lists of people, says Kwakkenbos. “I dare say we have a reasonable picture of who we worked with, but we are not perfect either.”
In a joint statement, aid agencies, including Refugee Work, Netherlands, Cordaid and Free Press Unlimited write very concerned about a number of groups that are still in danger of lagging behind in Afghanistan, also because it is unclear which groups as high profile or visible” are marked and which are not.
“For example, it is unclear whether the security guards and drivers for defence who were previously covered by the Belhaj motion are still in a chance to evacuate”, says a joint statement.
Kwakkenbos says it is well understood that visibility is mentioned, for example. “Just thats really easy to say from a safe Netherlands. It depends a lot on region and location. With a womens activist in Kabul who has been in the news a lot, its pretty easy to say shes welcome. But what if it comes to an activist who has been much more involved in the local community, for example in Uruzgan? She may not have been in the newspaper with her head, but it is well known in the community that she was very active in political participation. There are sensibilities that need to be picked out.”