For months, the Dutch embassy in Kabul asked the cabinet to make preparations for a possible evacuation of embassy personnel from Afghanistan.

Still, it took until two days before the fall of the Afghan capital before the cabinet came up with a plan.

De Volkskrant



on Wednesday based on e-mail traffic between the embassy and the cabinet.

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Internal communication between Kabul and The Hague would show that the ambassador and local staff in Afghanistan had been asking the cabinet since the spring of 2020 to make preparations in case the Taliban made an advance.

The embassy is said to have sent an evacuation list with sixty names to the cabinet.

Until a few days before the fall of Kabul, the embassy in The Hague was told that only three people were eligible for evacuation.

The embassy was allowed to choose which three, but the Dutch ambassador refused to do so.

According to the newspaper, this appears from an internal email of 12 August.

According to

de Volkskrant


the documents also state

that France offered to take people on a flight in July.

Outgoing minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Affairs) would not have been aware of this.

Cabinet has been thinking about evacuation plan since March

Earlier this month, the cabinet wrote in a statement of fact that in March it was considered the possibilities of removing people from Afghanistan if the security situation deteriorated further, also prompted by concerns from other countries.

At the end of April, it was determined that evacuation was actually only possible via the capital's airport.

Still, it would be months before it became clear to the government that military planes urgently had to go that way.

The military intelligence service MIVD also thought that Kabul would remain accessible for some time.

Nevertheless, the intelligence agency had been warning since at least December 2020 that it was probably a matter of time before the government in Afghanistan would be ousted by the Taliban.

See also: Dutch ministries worked at cross-purposes during evacuations from Kabul

Cabinet is waiting for a spicy parliamentary debate on Wednesday

A total of 1,897 people were taken to the Netherlands during the evacuation.

Among them were 787 Dutch people with their nuclear family or people with a residence permit.

There are 459 Dutch citizens or people with a residence permit who stayed behind in Afghanistan.

In addition, the cabinet wrote on Tuesday evening that "probably" 22 interpreters and their families were left behind after the evacuation flights stopped at the end of last month.

There is still contact with some of these interpreters.

On Wednesday, the cabinet will have a lively debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday about the evacuation of Afghans and Dutch people from Kabul.

See also: Are you still in Afghanistan?

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