Afghan governor asks Dutch troops not to pull out

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The governor of Uruzgan pleads with the Dutch government to reverse its decision and not to leave their jobs half-finished, reports the Financial Times.

London – The governor of an Afghan province pleaded Tuesday with the Netherlands not to withdraw troops from the region next year, warning its job is "only half finished," a report said.

Asadullah Hamdam, the governor of Uruzgan, said he has been asking the Dutch government to reverse its decision, amid fears a pullout will create instability in the region undergoing critical economic development.

"The people of Uruzgan are very familiar with the Dutch - they have spent a lot of time here - and they are asking them to stay," he told the Financial Times newspaper.

"We are very happy with what the Dutch security forces have done here.

"If they do leave, it will mean they are going at an important time and with their job only half finished," he said in the provincial capital.

Nearly 2,000 Dutch soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan, mostly in Uruzgan, as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

The Netherlands has been committing troops to ISAF since 2006 and its mission is set to expire in 2010.

A Dutch general said in August that NATO-led troops have succeeded in shifting the momentum against Taliban insurgents in the impoverished province, but it has taken years of patient effort.

The comments came as US President Barack Obama gathered his war cabinet Monday for what officials indicated could be the final time before he decides whether to dispatch tens of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan.

AFP / Expatica

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