Amsterdam, 11 August 2022 (TDI): The tenure of Dutch Ambassadors to Pakistan, Wouter Plomp, and Afghanistan, Caecilia Wijgers, finally came to an end, almost after a year after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
Bijna 1 jaar na de val van Kaboel komt een einde aan de plaatsing van de Nederlandse ambassadeurs in Afghanistan en Pakistan. Hoe kijken @caeciliawijgers en @NLambPlomp terug op hun tijd als ambassadeur in de regio? En hoe zien zij de toekomst? ⤵
— Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (@MinBZ) August 10, 2022
Both the Dutch Ambassadors gave remarks on the situation in Afghanistan on the occasion of their farewell.
Caecilia Wijgers’ Remarks
The Ambassador to Afghanistan said that her time as an Ambassador can be summed up in just two words “Before and after.” She also said, “The turning point was the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the evacuation operation that followed.”
“In my head, I still sometimes go through the various events leading up to August 15, at the airport in Kabul, and afterward here in the Netherlands and in Afghanistan.” Caecilia Wijgers added.
Furthermore, she said “Before the departure of the United States and NATO soldiers, we had prepared ourselves for several scenarios together with like-minded countries. But due to the acceleration of events, we ended up in the worst scenario.”
Caecilia had been working from Qatar since last year. She said that “We made a promise not to abandon the Afghan people. The Netherlands, together with other countries, has been working there for more than 20 years.”
“25 Dutch soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan. And think of all the Afghans who have fought to make their country more stable and democratic, at a great price.” She added.
Wouter Plomp’s Remarks
The Ambassador said that “People can only come to the Netherlands via countries neighboring Afghanistan because the Netherlands has no official ties with the Taliban regime.”
“Saying goodbye is always difficult, but in my three years in Pakistan I was able to achieve a number of things for the Netherlands,” Plomp mentioned.
He also said that “Pakistan plays a vital role in the region and we desperately needed Pakistan when we wanted to get people out of Afghanistan. It was hard, but also very rewarding work.”