Evacuation flights Afghanistan

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence carried out evacuation flights from Afghanistan from 18 August to 26 August, starting three days after the Taliban took full control of the country. The Netherlands was instructed by the United States to leave Kabul airport on Thursday 26 August. This meant that the final flights were carried out on that day. The United States have announced that they will depart from Kabul on 31 August. Before then, they need to fly out vast numbers of American military personnel and materiel. Before the departure of the United States, several other countries that significantly contribute to the security of the airport will also depart.

The evacuations concerned Dutch nationals, but also people of other nationalities. The Ministry of Defence was also evacuating Afghan nationals who are in danger in their own country because they have worked for the Netherlands or have contributed to Dutch operations.

This group was not limited to interpreters, but also includes guards, legal aides, cooks and drivers. It also includes employees of Dutch development projects, human rights and particularly women's rights activists. Journalists and their fixers that worked for Dutch media were also part of this group.

The reason so many Afghan people were eligible for evacuation is a motion passed by the House of Representatives on 18 August. This allowed for a more generous evacuation policy.

During the past week's military operation, more than 2,500 people were brought to safety by use of an air bridge.

Before the air bridge was set up, 111 Afghan interpreters and their families had already been brought to the Netherlands. This concerns approximately 500 people in total. The majority of those people arrived from 2018 onwards.

Following the fall of Kabul, approximately half of the remaining 67 interpreters and their families have been brought to safety through the air bridge.

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence established an air bridge between Kabul and a country in the region. From there, evacuees were distributed across other aircraft.

The information below is based on an initial count. Due to the hectic situation, actual numbers may differ. 

Departures of evacuation flights from Kabul to countries in the region:

  • 26 August: Two C-130's carrying an unknown number of passengers. (20/21)
  • 26 August: Two C-130's carrying 199 passengers in total (18/19)
  • 25 August: One C-130 carrying 68 passengers. (17)
  • 25 August: One C-130 carrying 129 passengers. (16)
  • 24 August: One C-130 carrying 133 passengers. (15)
  • 24 August: One C-130 carrying 122 passengers. (14)
  • 24 August: One C-130 carrying 91 passengers. (13)
  • 24 August: One C-130 carrying 137 passengers. (12)
  • 23 August: One C-130 carrying 142 passengers. (11)
  • 23 August: One C-130 carrying 94 passengers. (10)
  • 22 August: One C-130 carrying 93 passengers. (9)
  • 22 August: One C-17 carrying 86 passengers with final destination the Netherlands. (8)
  • 21 August: One C-17 carrying 69 passengers with final destination the Netherlands. (7)
  • 21 August: One C-17 carrying 10 passengers with final destination the Netherlands. (6)
  • 20 August: One C-130 carrying 70 passengers. (5)
  • 20 August: One C-130 picks up 53 passengers at night, one of whom is a Dutch national. (4)
  • 19 August: One C-130 picks up around 50 passengers. It is unclear how many Dutch nationals are on board.  (3)
  • 19 August: One C-130 picks up 79 people, nine of whom are Dutch nationals. (2)
  • 18 August: One C-17 picks up 35 Dutch, Belgian, British and German passport holders. (1)

Arrival of military evacuation flights in the Netherlands

These arrivals concern people of different nationalities. They have transferred to a different aircraft in the region.

  • 27 August: 87 passengers, all with a Dutch passport, on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (13)
  • 27 August: 100 passengers, of which 98 with a Dutch passport, on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (12)
  • 26 August: 269 passengers, of which 30 with a Dutch passport, on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (11)
  • 25 August: 180 passengers, of which 38 with a Dutch passport, on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (10)
  • 25 August: 179 passengers, of which 20 with a Dutch passport, on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (9)
  • 25 August: 120 passengers, of which 34 with a Dutch passport, arrived this morning on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (08)
  • 24 August: 184 passengers, of which 9 with a Dutch passport, on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (7)
  • 23 August: 129 passengers, of which 18 with a Dutch passport, on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (6)
  • 22 August: 172 passengers on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (5)
  • 22 August: approximately 160 passengers on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (4)
  • 21 August: 153 passengers on an aircraft chartered by the Ministry of Defence. (3)
  • 20 August: One Multinational MRTT Unit A330 carrying180 passengers. (2)
  • 18 August: One C-17 carrying 35 passengers, including Dutch nationals. (1)