THE HAGUE: The first Dutch evacuation flight since the Taliban takeover left Kabul without a single Dutch or Afghan national on board after passengers were blocked by US troops, the Netherlands said Wednesday.
The US military allowed the Dutch jet to stay on the tarmac in the Afghan capital for just 30 minutes before ordering it to take off on Tuesday, foreign minister Sigrid Kaag said.
Around 40 people were able to board the plane but none were Dutch or Afghan, with many people unable to get to the plane on time as they were stuck outside the US-guarded gates to the airport.
“Many people were there with their children, with their families. They were there at the entrance of the airport. It’s terrible,” Kaag was quoted as saying by the Dutch news agency ANP.
Kaag was due to speak to the Americans to prevent a repeat of the situation, and would also discuss the matter with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday, ANP said.
One Dutch national of Afghan origin told NOS public television that he failed to gain entry to the boarding gate in time because it was being guarded by US soldiers.
“I showed my passport and I said I was Dutch. There was a lot of noise, and I couldn’t hear what the American was saying very well,” the man said.
“After saying three times that I was Dutch, he told me to keep my distance otherwise he would shoot. I decided to leave. I didn’t want to risk being shot.”
A medical student identified only as Musa told NOS he had been summoned by email by the Dutch foreign ministry to go to the north entrance of the airport but US troops threatened to shoot people who turned up at the gate.
The Dutch foreign minister said that she “wanted the Americans to give us more time”.
“We will continue in a European context to work for better coordination,” Kaag said.
The Netherlands managed to evacuate their first nationals on Wednesday.
A plane left Kabul with around 35 Dutch as well as Belgian, German and British nationals en route for the Georgian capital Tblisi, the Dutch defence ministry said on Twitter.