Botched Libya evacuation widely criticised

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The Dutch government's botched attempt to evacuate two civilians from Libya on Sunday, when three soldiers were captured, has drawn widespread criticism.

"This was a frivolous, careless action in a secured Gaddafi area, without backup from special forces," Ko Colijn, acting director of the Clingendael think-tank says. "It has been hugely damaging for the Netherlands and NATO. As long as Gaddafi remains in Libya, he will not free them quickly. He can use them every day to threaten the West and NATO."

"We are perplexed, the Netherlands is not a country of cowboys," a European diplomat said in The Hague. "Perhaps it was an error of judgment. They have given Gaddafi a golden bargaining chip."

Dutch daily .

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