Almost 300 Afghans reach Pakistan to await evacuation to NL

Pakistan border guards. Photo:

A group of 294 Afghan nationals who worked as interpreters or in another capacity for Dutch organisations in Afghanistan have crossed the border into Pakistan to await transport to the Netherlands, broadcaster NOS has reported.

Most were on the Dutch evacuation list but were unable to make it to the airport in Kabul in time for the evacuation flights, NOS said.

One of those now in Pakistan is a man called Hayatullah whom the NOS has been in contact with for some time. He lost his passport at Kabul airport when he left his bag behind after going to fetch his pregnant wife.

‘I am so relieved that this has happened,’ he told NOS from Islamabad. ‘I should have flown to Qatar on February 10 but that flight did not happen. I was rung again and told that we had to get to the border with Pakistan, where we would be picked up.’

Hayatullah said he went through some 10 Taliban checkpoints to reach the border but said they had not searched his phone or asked questions because he was travelling with his wife and daughter.

There are still an estimated 1,100 people who were on the Dutch evacuation list in Afghanistan, NOS said. In addition several dozen people are in Pakistan but who are being refused onward travel to the Netherlands because they entered Pakistan illegally.

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