Seven Dutch people were evacuated from the Afghan capital Kabul on a Qatar Airways plane. The evacuees flew to Qatar. Dozens of compatriots canceled their flight or were unreachable, others were unable to reach the airport in time.
When the Ministry of Foreign Affairs heard that a second Qatar Airways flight would depart from Kabul to Doha, the capital of Qatar, travel groups with Dutch passport holders were immediately called. In the end, seven people got on board.
Many Dutch people in Afghanistan turned out to be unreachable on the numbers passed on. Dozens of people, who were able to reach the ministry, canceled the flight. Some had come out of Afghanistan by a different route. However, there were also people who wanted to, but did not arrive at the airport on time.
The Dutch who were on board are received in Doha by the Qatari authorities. Dutch diplomats are also present to lend a listening ear and, where necessary, consular assistance. If the travelers have a negative corona test, they return to the Netherlands via scheduled flights.
In total, according to CNN 158 passengers on board. Among them were 49 passengers with French passports and their relatives. This was stated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They fly from Qatar to Paris. Also on the plane were a Belgian woman, Americans, Germans, Canadians, British and Mauritanians.
It was the second evacuation flight in two days. Yesterday a plane of the same airline departed from Kabul. At that time there were thirteen Dutchmen on board. It was the first international flight to depart Kabul after the evacuation operation ended at the end of August. The plane flew to the Qatari capital Doha. From there, the evacuees will continue their journey to their destination country.
“I am very happy that we were able to bring these Dutchmen to safety,” said outgoing Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag yesterday after that first flight. “We are very grateful to the Qatari authorities for making this exercise possible. At the same time, there are still many people in Afghanistan who want to leave. The Netherlands will continue to make efforts to help them too.”
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a group of 25 other Dutch people in Afghanistan have indicated that they ‘do not want to make use of this option at the moment’. They are still in the country and waiting for other options to leave.
Yesterday, the Netherlands could only allow people with a Dutch passport to fly along. People with a Dutch residence permit or Afghans who are on a Dutch list could not take the flight ‘because of safety’. The Taliban would not allow that.
On Thursday, 113 people were on board, mostly Afghans with dual nationality, such as American, Ukrainian, Canadian or German. Thirteen Britons also flew with it. The Taliban have been pressured by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to let the group leave, according to an insider.