"Netherlands should not extend Uruzgan"

9th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 May 2007, AMSTERDAM – Former defence minister Joris Voorhoeve warns that the Netherlands should not extend its mission in Afghanistan. Voorhoeve says that this week in Vrij Nederland.

9 May 2007

AMSTERDAM – Former defence minister Joris Voorhoeve warns that the Netherlands should not extend its mission in Afghanistan. Voorhoeve says that this week in Vrij Nederland.

He warns that the mission would become interminable if the Netherlands does not set clear limits on its presence in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan.

The Dutch troops are to remain in Uruzgan until August 2008 but the cabinet has already said it will decide on a possible extension of the mission this summer.

The Netherlands is under a lot of pressure from its international partners to stay in the country as no one has yet stepped forward to take on the work being carried out by the Dutch troops at the moment.

Voorhoeve says the Netherlands should stick to its position and withdraw in 2008. "If we don't make it clear that the allies cannot count on us forever, it is going to end badly. It will become a mission without end."

Other countries could take advantage of the Netherlands' willingness to help out, he says. "We must not become the victim of our idealism."

Voorhoeve does think the Netherlands should continue to contribute to reconstruction in Afghanistan after troops are withdrawn. The Netherlands should focus on helping build up the police, justice system and prisons, he says.

The former minister is not optimistic about NATO's chances of success in Afghanistan. "NATO cannot solve the problems there. There is no military solution to the problems in Afghanistan. They can only be solved if the EU and UN make more of an effort to make reconstruction possible."

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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