Netherlands In Turmoil As Ministers Resign Over Afghanistan Withdrawal


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

(Worthy News) – The faces political turmoil after becoming the first Western nation with ministers resigning over the U.S—led coalition’s dramatic withdrawal from .

Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag, known internationally for senior positions, was the first to step down after admitting that many allies had stayed behind enemy lines.

Dutch legislators had passed a censure motion against her, saying the government was too slow to respond and left behind many Afghans who should have been able to flee.

An emotional Kaag said she stood by her actions but accepted Parliament’s verdict.

Speaking in Parliament, she admitted the government had been slow and messy when reacting to warnings about a surge of the .

Her cabinet colleague, Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld, was also censured but waited almost 24 hours before announcing she was stepping down.

FRONT LINE SUPPORT

She said she had wanted to continue working for the men and women on the front line but felt that her post had now become a topic for debate, and she could no longer do so.

The Netherlands managed to evacuate around 2,000 people from Afghanistan in the last two weeks of August.

But hundreds of local staff and people who had worked as interpreters with Dutch troops were left behind.

Footage seen by Worthy News suggests that they may face executions. Suspected Taliban fighters have been filmed shooting at close range at a group of men. Minorities, including thousand of Christians, could face a similar fate, well-informed sources say.

Kaag admitted the government had acted based on “wrong assumptions” but insisted the Taliban’s rapid rise to power had stunned everyone, “including the Taliban itself.”

However, critics say much intelligence suggested that Afghanistan’s army was unable or unwilling to halt the Taliban advances.

SREBRENICA RECALLED

The Afghanistan debacle is especially sensitive in the Netherlands. In 1995 outnumbered Dutch U.N. peacekeepers abandoned the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serb forces killed some 8,000 men and boys during a .

Critics see a pattern with many people potentially facing a similar fate under the Islamist Taliban group now ruling Afghanistan.

Thousands of miles away in the , Party critics have also called for the impeachment of President amid signs that thousands of at-risk Afghans and Americans were left behind.

Ironically Kaag will remain the leader of the left-leading Democrats 66 (D66) party and continues discussions on forming a new government with caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The Netherlands has been without a new cabinet since elections were held in March this year.

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