The cabinet is investigating whether it can cooperate with private security companies in Afghanistan for the evacuation of Dutch citizens left behind. Various private agencies that claim to work with ex-commandos are said to have offered their help.
According to Minister Ank Bijleveld (Defence), it is being examined whether these offers are serious. ,,We have to investigate that,” she says when asked. “It is very questionable how reliable these companies are.”
In the meantime, the cabinet continues to try in all sorts of ways to remove the Dutch people who have stayed behind and at least thirty local interpreters who have worked for the Ministry of Defence. “We are now in talks with neighboring countries about allowing evacuees to leave Afghanistan by land. That is not easy”, says Minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Affairs).
Gerard Celosse (40) is a former commando and has a private security company: Gho-st. “Getting out of Afghanistan is complicated, but it’s possible.” Read the whole article here.
The ministry is also looking for a place from which Dutch diplomats can continue to work in the region to help the Dutch people who have been left behind. “The emergency evacuation has stopped, but the aid has not. Now we don’t have anyone on site, but we are doing everything we can to get people here. We do that from The Hague and from the region.”
Defense has another plane with a ‘ten’ special forces‘ in a neighboring country in case someone needs to be helped quickly in the coming days, says Bijleveld. It is ‘not realistic’ that this will actually work, she notes. “We hope that air traffic with Kabul will start up again soon, so that people can get away with a regular ticket. However, that will not be before August 31. The more American soldiers leave, the harder the airport is to protect. The situation is really precarious right now. But the evacuation operation did not end there. We are looking for other ways to get people out of there.” Contact with the Taliban is not excluded.
Both Kaag and Bijleveld emphasize that many more people had to be evacuated than expected. Kaag: “To our shock, many more people had traveled to Afghanistan, against all travel advice.” Before the evacuation had to be accelerated, the Netherlands flew about 2500 people. Evacuees have also accompanied flights from other countries. The government is not yet able to say exactly how many people were left behind.
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