The Netherlands is likely to operate the latest evacuation flights from Afghanistan later today. This is what the demissionary ministers Kaag and Bijleveld and State Secretary Broekers-Knol write in a letter to the House of Representatives. The letter states that the departure plan of the embassy team and ninety soldiers entered into force. They will depart on the last flights.
The guards call stopping the evacuations “a painful moment because despite all the efforts of the past period, people who are eligible for evacuation to the Netherlands will remain behind”.
Kaag, Bijleveld and Broekers-Knol write that the United States informed the Dutch that they should leave. In an explanation, Kaag said this morning that there are major security risks at the airport. “People speak of a threat of terrorist attack.”
The United States urged the Netherlands to leave, says Kaag:
The Netherlands already called evacuees in Kabul this morning to stop coming to the airport. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the airport of the Afghan capital had become too dangerous and the airport gates were closed. People were then called to go to a safe location elsewhere.
Previously, three buses with Dutch people managed to enter Kabul International Airport. The buses had to wait more than 24 hours at one of the airport entrances before they were admitted to the premises.
The buses had 118 people in total, all with a Dutch passport. According to Kaag and Bijleveld, everyone who is already at the airport will be helped and put on a plane. But no one can join now. Kaag said that the Netherlands has been able to evacuate a total of 1500 people during this period. Bijleveld added that the Netherlands has done evacuations as one of the last countries. According to her, everyone at the airport is “basically safe”.
Kaag and Bijleveld don‘t know how many people are left behind in Afghanistan. “The lists are still growing and there are also a large number of Dutch people and their families. We are now looking with allies how to assist them further,” the Foreign Minister said. According to Kaag, it remains the commitment to help anyone entitled to return or evacuation. She stressed that she has close contact with the British, Germans and French.
‘Very, highly reliable information‘
The US, British and Australian authorities also called for no longer to come to the airport. Citizens who were still at the airport were asked to leave. The situation at the airport has become more chaotic and dangerous in recent days and hours.
British Defense Secretary Heappey says there is “very, very reliable information” about an impending attack at the airport.
Look at his statement here:
The Chamber Letter states that a Dutch C-130 with a small team of soldiers will remain in the region until 31 August. It can be deployable quickly if, unlike now, there are opportunities to bring people from Kabul to safety. Where the plane and the soldiers are waiting for an opportunity is not clear.
Belgium and France
The United States has announced that they want to be completely out of Afghanistan by August 31. That means that in the days preceding, large numbers of U.S. military and equipment have to leave the country. That’s why the flights are coming to an end now.
Other countries stop the airlift as well. France announced a few hours before the Netherlands after no more evacuation of people today. Belgium no longer operates flights, it was announced last night. Belgian Prime Minister De Croo referred to the threat of attacks. He said Belgium has evacuated a little more than 1400 people in the past few days.