Dutch troops to go to Afghanistan again
The Dutch cabinet has decided to send a 225-strong police training mission to Afghanistan, accompanied by a 300-strong military unit to protect the trainers. The decision was announced by Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday following consultations with MPs to secure their support.
Sending Dutch military personnel to Afghanistan is a controversial political issue. The previous cabinet resigned after a conflict over extending an earlier mission. The two parties in the current rightwing minority cabinet are in favour of the new police mission, but a third party, the Freedom Party on which it relies for support, is against. Some opposition parties, however, were in favour of the police training mission, as long as the military personnel involved are not combat troops. The government has accepted this condition.
The mission will last for three years and probably be based in the province of Kunduz.
Parliamentary approval is not needed, but unwritten rules say that the government can only send Dutch soldiers abroad if a majority of parliament lends its support.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide