The cabinet launches a diplomatic offensive to withdraw Dutch and Afghan aid from Afghanistan. With Germany, Great Britain and France, the pressure is intensifying on “several countries of the region”, for example to allow people who manage to leave Afghanistan by land.
The United States reported last night in a joint declaration with a hundred countries, including the Netherlands, to have promises from the Taliban that foreigners and Afghans on evacuation lists can leave the country.
Outgoing Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag will visit several countries in the region this week. Her spokesperson cannot say which countries it is and with whom she will speak.
According to insiders, Kaag will at least visit neighboring Pakistan, Turkey and Qatar. The Taliban have an office in this Gulf state. Countries that have contact with the regime are holding talks in the Qatari capital, Doha. It is not known whether Kaag’s planned visit to the country means she will hold talks with the Taliban.
Kaag wants to go to Turkey because this country will play a major role in the reopening of the Kabul airport. The Taliban have asked the Turks for technical assistance, Turkey is said to be ready to do so. Pakistan is a logical destination: military defense flights from Kabul have landed in Islamabad in recent weeks. The Pakistani capital is located 500 kilometers from Kabul.
“Behind the scenes, everything is done to get people out,” said a source. In doing so, “all options” are considered, such as overland evacuations. In his discussions, Kaag can advocate for granting entry and visas to people who are still on the Dutch evacuation list and who show up at the border. In any case, his German counterpart Heino Maas is also leading similar discussions.
Rutte to Macron
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte is also “in constant contact with the heads of government” on the subject of Afghanistan. He will travel to Paris on Tuesday to meet with President Emmanuel Macron. Rutte called German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday and had previously spoken by phone with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The purpose of these conversations, according to sources, is to be “represented in one way or another” in Kabul as soon as possible. In this, the European allies want to “act together”. After the departure of the Dutch Embassy team on Thursday evening, there will be no more diplomatic posts in the Afghan capital.
In recent weeks, the Netherlands have evacuated 2,500 people from Afghanistan, 1,600 of whom had Dutch passports or the Netherlands as their final destination. The others flew to other countries. Earlier, the government also said it would investigate whether private security companies in Afghanistan can assist in the evacuation of Dutch citizens left behind.
Watch our videos on the situation in Afghanistan in the playlist below:
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