Dutch mull police training mission for Afghanistan

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The Netherlands could send trainers to Afghanistan to help the country's beleaguered police, the government said on Friday, three months after its military deployment there ended.

"A letter announcing that we are going to examine the possibility and the timeliness of a mission is to be sent to the parliament," said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"At the moment, there is not yet a question of a mission, we are simply going to examine if a judicious contribution can be made to the training of police in Afghanistan," added foreign ministry spokesman Job Frieszo.

A mission to Afghanistan by senior military officers and diplomats to investigate the proposal would visit three Afghan provinces, Frieszo added, without giving an exact date.

The Netherlands ended its deployment in central Uruzgan province on August 1 in the first significant drawdown of troops from the Afghan war.

The four-year Dutch mission cost the lives of 24 soldiers. NATO's request for an extension of the mission sparked a political row that led to the Dutch government's collapse in February, and the August pullout.

© 2010 AFP

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