Dutch govt agrees Afghanistan training mission

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The Dutch cabinet agreed Friday to send a 545-member police training mission to Afghanistan, 11 months after the last government fell over military deployment there, an official statement said.

"The cabinet has decided to send a mission to Afghanistan to train Afghan police," the government communication service announced after the weekly cabinet meeting.

"The mission has a training character and will not be involved in any activities of a military offensive nature."

Around 1,950 Dutch troops were deployed in Afghanistan until August last year, mainly in the central Uruzgan province where opium production is high and the Taliban very active, under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The four-year Dutch mission cost the lives of 24 soldiers.

NATO's request for an extension of the Dutch deployment sparked a political row that led to the government's collapse in February, precipitating the August pullout.

© 2011 AFP

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