Who are we picking up from Afghanistan?

What happened?
What‘s going on in Afghanistan again?

In Afghanistan, the terrorist organization has taken control of the country by the Taliban. This happened after Western military forces withdrew from the country in recent months, after having been there for twenty years. The Taliban quickly captured more and more areas, with the capital Kabul last weekend. The president fled and the Taliban proclaimed victory. Only the airport is in the hands of Western troops.

There, thousands of Afghans have been trying to get on planes since this weekend to flee the country. America, Canada, Germany and France, among others, have already sent several flights to pick up people. And the Netherlands also sent its first aircraft. According to the minister talking about it, the Netherlands wants to send planes three times a day to pick up people. They’ll go to a nearby country. From there they continue to the Netherlands with a larger plane.

Who can go to the Netherlands?

People with a Dutch passport, ID card or residence permit are allowed on a plane to the Netherlands anyway. For example, some young people were looking for family when the country was quickly taken over by the Taliban and couldn‘t return. Others worked in Afghanistan, such as Dutch embassy staff and interpreters. Journalists are also being looked at.

Yesterday, the government decided that Afghans who have worked with the Netherlands are allowed on a plane, including their families. For example, Afghan guards are allowed to evacuate, who helped Dutch troops in the past.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there is currently no guarantee that Dutch citizens can be helped to leave the country.

How are the Dutch who are still in Afghanistan today?

Most likely hundreds of Dutch people are in Afghanistan at the moment. Arzo – not her real name – from 17 is one of them. Two weeks ago, her family traveled to Afghanistan for family visits. โ€œWe went to the airport yesterday and saw it was very busy. People without a passport all wanted to go in to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, so the Americans stopped everyone and started hitting and shooting,โ€ Arzo says.

โ€œWe too have been threatened and beaten. My father wore my three-year-old brother in his arms and was whipped in his neck. My mother fell to the ground and I was hit with a stick in my face.โ€ It’s not the first time she traveled to her parents‘ homeland, but she said the situation was not as bad as it is now. Arzo calls it a horrible experience. โ€œI have traumas to it.โ€ For now, Arzo wants to avoid the airport out of fear.

Mariam (20) and Sahar (29) – both not their real names either – can’t leave Afghanistan yet. Yesterday and today they spent twelve hours at the airport, but the shots, violence and crowds didn‘t get them through. โ€œPeople even died, who have been carried away by others. The airport was shot everywhere: on the ground, wall and ceiling. Also just in front of my feet, which caused me to be wounded by stones or glass. I don’t even know what exactly hit me. I used my headscarf as a bandage. It was very heavy, so we left. Even when I‘m back at the hotel, I feel the fear, every sound and every bang I think back to the moment. We’re traumatized,โ€ Sahar says.

โ€œI don‘t get in touch with Foreign Affairs and got no clarity about the evacuations. This weekend we’re trying to get back to the airport because I heard everyone with a foreign passport can sign up. I don‘t know if it’s right, but we‘re going to try.โ€ That seems to be the only chance for now. โ€œWe think the airport will be in the Taliban’s hands within ten days, so we can‘t leave at all. It’s really too dangerous here, I feel abandoned.โ€