Dutch Afghanistan mission may be extended
The government wants the Dutch police trainers in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province to extend their mission to include teaching higher ranking police officers and even Afghan training personnel. MPs were informed of the cabinet’s plans on Friday.
The original number of 20 Dutch police trainers was recently cut by half because there was not enough work for the mission to do. Ten trainers are at present on stand-by. The government’s plans would increase the Dutch mission’s workload.
Ministers think training Afghan officers just above the rank of the recruits at present being put through their paces by the Dutch would be “useful and feasible”. The higher ranking officers would be given an eight-week follow-up course to basic training.
It is also being suggested that Afghan police trainers could shadow their Dutch and German counterparts.
The new duties would come on top of the present assignments being carried out by members of the Dutch police training mission in Kunduz. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal argues the extension of the trainers’ remit would make the mission more effective.
Conditional approval When they approved the mission, MPs insisted that Afghan officers trained by the Dutch should not be used in combat against Taliban insurgents. Mr Rosenthal does not believe that condition will be jeopardised by extending the mission’s remit.
The government is also looking at other possible ways of increasing the mission’s effectiveness. Police recruits from outside Kunduz may become eligible for training by the Dutch. Border police may also be trained, but this might involve splitting up their civilian policing and military duties.
Final decisions about changes to the mission will not be taken until after the Afghanistan Conference at the beginning of December.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide