Dutch PM not ruling out longer mission in Afghanistan

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Jan Peter Balkenende says it will be another “weighing-up moment” if the new US president Barack Obama request for Dutch troops to stay on.

THE HAGUE – Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is considering extending the Dutch military mission to Afghanistan.

In the television programme Pauw & Witteman, the prime minister said he is not ruling out the possibility of another extension to the Dutch military mission to Afghanistan.

He said there would be another "weighing-up moment" for the government if the new US president, Barack Obama, asked if Dutch troops could stay on. Obama's advisers have already signalled that such a request will be made, said Balkenende.

The present mission in Uruzgan province ends in 2010, and Balkenende stressed that that decision stands. He declined comment on what form Dutch involvement in Afghanistan might take beyond that date.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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