Photo: via Reuters
Like thieves in the night. This is the image that arose around the Dutch embassy staff’s flight from Kabul last weekend. The advance of the radical Islamist Taliban movement has become too much for Dutch diplomat Cees Royles. He decided to quit with his team.
As the Taliban advanced, the deputy ambassador became very hot on his feet, and left the embassy with Dutch staff at night from Saturday to Sunday.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the agreement has also been reached. It was very sharp, in the middle of the night, because the Americans were standing there saying the Taliban were on the embassy streets. The team was temporarily housed in a shelter, where their cell phones did not work, and therefore it was not possible to contact the outside world for a while.”
However, the Hague’s sources reported to De Telegraaf that the old Dutch embassy staff, contrary to all instructions, left their post out of fear.
He was not the average ambassador in the country at that time. For posts with a high security risk, it is usual for the ambassador to rotate and absent from the post. In their absence, the embassy is headed by the temporary chargé d’affaires.
Because of the flight procedure, the embassy was unmanned for two and a half days and a new team from the embassy had to be sent to Kabul. Meanwhile, the local Afghan personnel were left devastated.
I worked hard last week to prepare for the eviction
Until last week, the embassy had been working hard to evacuate civilian flights. Tickets have been booked and documents prepared. When the employee – an Afghan – arrived at the embassy on Saturday, he saw that the documents had been extensively destroyed. It was going to start on Friday. Friday and Saturday are holidays in Afghanistan.
‘No more trusting these people’
On Saturday evening, at three in the morning, the employee received a call from the embassy security guard. He stated that they “left”. At six o’clock, the acting ambassador himself called him. Afghani reassured him and said the Dutch were taken to the airport because the situation was “mentally better for them”.
The local embassy staff met at 8:30. There they will find papers that will allow them to get to the airport. The Afghans asked the employer if it would be better if they came directly to the airport. The deputy diplomat replied that it was still too early for that. That night or the next day a plane would come and it would be better.
But by that time there was no way. “If we had gone on Sunday morning, we would have done it,” Al Afghani says. “I no longer have any faith in these people.”
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