Dutch Afghan training mission uncertain
The Green Left party council has told a meeting of party representatives that it opposes a government proposal to contribute to a training mission in Afghanistan. If the Dutch government fails to win the opposition party's support for its proposal to send 545 police trainers to Kunduz, its plan to contribute to the NATO mission looks uncertain.
Party leader Jolande Sap says it is now up to the parliamentary party to take a final decision on the issue. She says the main question is, "Can the Dutch make a difference, without abandoning Afghanistan and at the same time providing an alternative?" She pointed out that the party is committed to helping the Afghan people.
Ms Sap stressed that the party council's critical questions were the same as the ones being asked by Green Left MPs. There are fears within the party that the training mission could turn into another military mission.
The government needs support from the Green Left in parliament to realise its plan to send 545 police trainers to the northern city of Kunduz as part of a NATO mission. If the mission goes ahead the trainers will be protected by German troops, rather than Dutch ones. However, four Dutch F16s will be deployed for the operation.
The coalition cannot rely on the support of the Freedom Party, which usually supports government policy, on this issue. The Labour Party has so far indicated they are not willing to support such a mission.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide