FM reassures MPs about Afghan training mission
Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has reassured the opposition that Afghan police officers trained by the Dutch will only be deployed in accordance with the agreement between the Netherlands and Afghanistan.
His comments are in reponse to written questions from the opposition about the police training mission in the Afghan province of Kunduz. One of the most important stipulations obtained by parliament before the mission could go ahead was that the police officers trained by the Dutch would not be deployed to combat the Taliban.
The opposition questions were raised following an interview screened on Sunday by with a police commander in Kunduz. In the inverview, the commander indicated there was a real chance that his men would be deployed to fight insurgents.
He said fighting is not the primary objective of police officers but, in the case of a Taliban attack, they must defend themselves, seal off the area and hold it until anti-terrorist units arrive.
However, the foreign minister says the officers will only carry out civilian duties and will not be deployed in any military offensive.
Minister Rosenthal says the police commander's comments are "in line" with an agreement between the Netherlands and Afghanistan, presumably because the commander referred to defensive action.
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