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Dutch defense minister resigns over Afghanistan withdrawal

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September 17, 2021


5:56 pm

Ank Bijleveld resigned as Dutch defense minister on Friday over the government’s handling of the evacuation of refugees from Afghanistan, a day after the foreign minister also stepped down.

The parliament on Thursday passed motions of censure against Bijleveld and Sigrid Kaag. The latter stepped down as foreign minister but Bijleveld decided to remain in office. After criticism from within her party, the Christian Democratic party (CDA), for not resigning, she changed her mind. She said that although she had not anticipated the fallout following the debate into her handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, she could no longer fulfill her duties amidst such controversy.

Bijleveld’s resignation comes during flailing coalition talks in which her party plays a central role. She will be replaced as defense minister by caretaker Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus.

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