Soldiers opposed to extended mission
25 October 2007, THE HAGUE (AFP) - More than four in 10 Dutch soldiers oppose extending their country's mission in Afghanistan, a poll published Wednesday reported as NATO held talks to drum up more military assistance there.
25 October 2007
THE HAGUE (AFP) - More than four in 10 Dutch soldiers oppose extending their country's mission in Afghanistan, a poll published Wednesday reported as NATO held talks to drum up more military assistance there.
According to the survey for the Netherlands television news show EenVandaag, 41 percent of the 300 soldiers questioned were against extending the Dutch mission beyond the scheduled August 2008 deadline.
A majority, or 54 percent of some 22,000 Dutch interviewed also opposed renewing the mandate of more than 1,500 Dutch troops deployed in volatile southern Afghanistan.
The findings were published as NATO defence ministers began two days of talks in the Dutch town of Noordwijk aimed to drum up troops and equipment to help put down a Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.
US, British, Canadian and Dutch military are carrying the lion's share of the fighting in the most dangerous parts of the country, and want greater participation from some of their more reluctant allies.
Dutch Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop reiterated that message Wednesday, noting strong opposition in the Dutch parliament to proposals for a troop mandate extension.
The country has lost 10 soldiers, seven in combat, since deploying in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan last year.
Meanwhile, France on Wednesday pledged to send for the first time dozens of military trainers to Afghanistan's south.
[Copyright AFP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news