The Latest: Dutch foreign minister resigns over Afghanistan
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag has resigned after the lower house of parliament passed a motion of censure against the government over its handling of evacuations from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover of the country.
In a parliamentary debate on Wednesday night, Kaag acknowledged that the government’s slow or muddled response to warnings about the situation in Afghanistan meant some local staff members and people who had worked as translators for Dutch troops during their deployment in the country had not been evacuated before or after the Taliban’s swift sweep to power.
After parliament passed the motion of censure on Thursday, Kaag immediately said she would tender her resignation, saying that parliament had decided “that the Cabinet has acted irresponsibly.”
“I can only accept the consequences of this judgment as the minister with ultimate responsibility,” she added.
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— AP Interview: UN refugee chief says Afghan stability needed
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s interior minister has assured the U.N. refugee agency that his country will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghan people.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told visiting U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Thursday that no new Afghan refugees had entered Pakistan since the Taliban took control in neighboring Afghanistan last month.
According to a government statement, Ahmed said Pakistan has sent trucks carrying food for the Afghan people to help try to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. It said Grandi thanked Pakistan for hosting 3 million Afghan refugees in recent decades.
Since the Taliban toppled Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government Aug. 15, Pakistan has urged the world community to speed up efforts to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Pakistan says it cannot host any more Afghan refugees for several reasons, including financial constraints.
PRISTINA, Kosovo — The British Embassy in Kosovo says a number of Afghans working with NATO and evacuated from their country after the Taliban takeover last month will be relocated to Britain.
A statement from the embassy says: “117 NATO affiliated Afghan evacuees are being relocated to the UK from Kosovo.”
Over 800 evacuated Afghans working with NATO in their country have been temporarily sheltered in Kosovo since the end of August.
Around 2,000 former NATO contractors and their families were evacuated from Afghanistan, according to the embassy, adding that the country has committed to relocate around 150 NATO affiliated Afghans.
Kosovo has said it will temporarily house about 2,000 Afghans.
BEIJING — China says it will attend a virtual meeting of Central and South Asian state leaders to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
The meeting of members of the China and Russia dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organization is scheduled for Thursday and hosted by Tajikistan. Afghanistan is an observer member of the grouping, but it wasn’t clear if any representatives from the Taliban leadership would be attending.
China hasn’t said whether it will recognize the new Afghan authorities who have excluded outside parties and women, although it has courted its leadership and kept its Kabul Embassy open.
The government and state media have accused the United States of destabilizing Afghanistan through what it calls a hasty and chaotic withdrawal of its troops, even as the Taliban swiftly overcame Afghan government forces over recent weeks.
China has used the Shanghai Cooperation to boost its standing in Central Asia through political dialogue and joint military exercises, aimed largely at diminishing U.S. influence in the region.
Beijing has also called on the Taliban to hold to its pledge to restrain militants seeking independence for the traditionally Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang, Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged the group to keep border crossings open, while offering $31 million in humanitarian assistance, along with 3 million doses of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines.