Dutch foreign minister resigns over chaos of Afghan evacuation

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Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag resigned on Thursday after lawmakers formally condemned her handling of the evacuation crisis in Afghanistan.

“The House of Representatives considers that the government has acted irresponsibly…I can only accept the consequences of this ruling as the minister with ultimate responsibility,” Kag said in a statement to parliament.

She added, “My vision for our democratic system and the approach of our will necessitates that the minister resign if his policy is not approved. Therefore, I will submit my resignation as Minister of Foreign Affairs to His Majesty the King.”

Kaag said she would remain leader of the centre-left D66 party, which forms a coalition government with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, after winning the second-largest number of seats in the March elections.

Rutte described her resignation as a “huge loss” for the government.

The Netherlands evacuated more than 1,500 people from Kabul, both Dutch and Afghan, in the last days of August. But many Afghans who were candidates for eviction have been left in Afghanistan, including 22 translators, despite calls from lawmakers for their evictions months ago.

Kaag acknowledged that the Dutch government had failed to anticipate the rapid rise of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, but at the same time indicated that other Western countries were in the same position.

Defense Minister Ank Bielefeld, for her part, refused to resign despite a vote against her in Parliament.

Kag’s resignation came a day after British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was fired over his handling of the situation in Afghanistan.

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