Flight brings 181 Afghans from Pakistan to the Netherlands

Jul 12, 2022, 2:01 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2022, 2:03 am

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A group of 181 Afghans has arrived in the Netherlands on a chartered flight from Pakistan, the Dutch government said Wednesday, the latest group to fly to safety in the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan last year.

Most of the new arrivals who landed Tuesday night at an airport in Eindhoven left Afghanistan by crossing the land border into Pakistan, where Dutch diplomats and the International Organization for Migration helped them reach Islamabad.

The Dutch government said the Afghans were unable to flee their country earlier because they did not have valid travel documents. Pakistani authorities allowed them into the country so they could travel on to the Netherlands.

Earlier this year, Pakistan’s government allowed 329 people into the country so they could fly to the Netherlands. The European country pledged to evacuate Afghans who assisted Dutch diplomats and military personnel before the Taliban seized power, sparking a chaotic rush by many Afghans to escape.

The Dutch government said Wednesday that it hopes to evacuate “as many eligible people as possible” from Afghanistan who make it to Pakistan.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had brought 1,801 Afghans to the Netherlands since late August 2021 and another 942 people were awaiting transfer, including 766 who remained in Afghanistan.

The former Dutch foreign minister, Sigrid Kaag, quit in September over the government’s muddled handling of evacuations from Kabul.

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Flight brings 181 Afghans from Pakistan to the Netherlands