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2nd Dutch Minister resigns over Afghan evacuation

Copenhagen, Sep 18 (IANS) Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld has stepped down oafter a motion of disapproval against her for the chaotic handling of evacuations from Afghanistan.

Bijleveld’s resignation on Friday comes a day after Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag stepped down over the issue, reports Xinhua news agency.

“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 Parliament, that she would stay on anyway.

However, when the motions of disapproval received a majority vote, 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 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.

–IANS

ksk/

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