With the help of the Netherlands, about 300 Afghans in Pakistan, then in the Netherlands

A group of 294 Afghans recently crossed the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan with help from the Netherlands. There they were greeted by employees of the Dutch embassy and are now staying in hotels in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. They will probably go to the Netherlands in a few weeks.

The group consists of translators and other Afghans who have worked in the past, for example in the Dutch army or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most were already on the evacuation list in August but failed to reach a plane after the Taliban took control.

Negotiations between the Netherlands and Pakistan have been going on for months. This got its first result late last month, when a much smaller group crossed the Afghan-Pakistan border. This group seems to have paved the way for those who have recently come to Islamabad.

Pregnant woman

The NOS has contact with several Afghans in the group. One of them is Hayatullah, who previously appeared anonymously in NOS stories. In August, he left his bag with Dutch soldiers at Kabul airport to pick up his pregnant wife, who waited outside the airport until all the paperwork had been checked.

When he returned with his wife, the airport gate was closed and his bag was in the back. As a result, he lost his family’s passports. This made it much more difficult to leave Afghanistan in the period that followed.

Many Afghans who have been evacuated in recent days also do not have a passport. Even before the Taliban took over, it was difficult to apply for a passport in Afghanistan. It wasn’t easy after I took over. As a result, this group could not be transported by plane.

great relief

“I was so relieved that it worked,” Islamabad’s Hayatullah said today. Earlier this month, he received his first message from the State Department about the impending deportation. “I was supposed to fly to Qatar around February 10. This flight has been cancelled. But I got a call back right away. We had to make our own way to the Pakistani border, where we were admitted.”

Hayatullah said there are about 10 Taliban checkpoints between Kabul and the Pakistani border. He used to think that traveling was a great danger, but it wasn’t that serious. “I was traveling with my wife and child so they didn’t ask any questions. They didn’t call my phone, they didn’t even ask questions.”

Pakistani border officials knew he and his family were coming and allowed them to cross. They were greeted behind the border by Dutch embassy staff and immediately received the corona vaccine and the corona test.

Still

Now that this large group has been evacuated, an estimated 1,100 people in Afghanistan are still on the Dutch evacuation list.

A group of at least dozens of people also have the Netherlands in Pakistan as their final destination. They had previously traveled to this country alone and crossed the border illegally. Part of the group claims to have done this on the advice of the Netherlands. Pakistan will not allow them to continue traveling because they entered illegally.

Hayatullah already met people from the Dutch embassy in Islamabad on Tuesday. He said the Netherlands will charter a plane next week to fly him and other Afghans from Pakistan to the Netherlands.

Source : NOS

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