Tue, 19 Oct 2021

THE HAGUE, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld stepped down on Friday after a motion of disapproval against her for the chaotic handling of evacuations from Afghanistan. It comes the day after her Foreign Affairs counterpart Sigrid Kaag resigned over the issue.

"I wanted to continue with the task that I face, the evacuation of the men and women on the front line, and the interpreters, who are still in Afghanistan," Bijleveld said. "However, as my job became the subject of a discussion I could not do it in a good way anymore."

Bijleveld had said on Thursday, before a debate in the Dutch parliament, that she would stay on anyway. However, when the motions of disapproval received a majority vote in parliament, and Kaag resigned, tensions arose within her Christian Democrats Party.

The motions of disapproval followed a heated debate in parliament about the chaotic evacuation of the Netherlands embassy staff from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power.

Kaag and Bijleveld were held responsible for not picking up signals from the parliament, and from embassy staff in Afghanistan, that an emergency situation was about to arise.

The resignations come in the middle of difficult talks over the formation of a new Dutch government. General elections were held in the country in March this year, but an agreement on a coalition government has still not been reached.

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