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No country has ‘clear picture’ what flights its citizens are actually on, Dutch FM says, amid chaotic evacuation from Kabul

No country has ‘clear picture’ what flights its citizens are actually on, Dutch FM says, amid chaotic evacuation from Kabul
The persisting “chaos” at Kabul airport has made it hard to tell which evacuation flights carry nationals of what country, the Netherlands’ foreign minister has said, adding that over 700 Dutch citizens are still in Afghanistan.

The Netherlands is closely cooperating with German and British authorities to streamline the rocky evacuation from Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag told reporters on Friday.

Despite the effort, many aspects of the evacuation remain very uncertain, including getting the would-be evacuees to the airport in the first place, Kaag said, chiefly due to the Taliban checkpoints surrounding the facility. The process of getting people onto cargo planes to leave the country is riddled with issues as well, she revealed.

Because of the chaos at the airport we do not at this moment have a clear picture of in which airplane our own people are, or the citizens of other European countries or NATO allies, or of Afghani personnel – no country does.

The Netherlands currently estimates that over 700 of its nationals remain in Afghanistan, including those who traveled there recently despite clear instructions not to do so. The Dutch government had instructed its citizens to leave Afghanistan back on August 12, days before Kabul fell to the Taliban.

“We know that there are at this moment more than 700 Dutch nationals still in Afghanistan, many people who appear to have gone on family visits, despite very clear travel advisories not to go ... and we have to bring them back,” Kaag stated.

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The chaotic evacuation of Western countries’ citizens, along with some of their Afghans allies, kicked off after the Taliban captured Kabul last weekend, following a dramatic weeks-long nationwide offensive. The fall of the capital sent thousands of Afghans fleeing to the airport in Kabul, which remains the last option to leave for many.

Around a dozen people perished during their desperate attempt to escape, including several Afghans who plummeted to their deaths from a US military transport plane after they managed to clamber aboard the exterior as it took off from the airfield.

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