MPs debating Dutch mission to Kunduz

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The Dutch Lower House is debating a cabinet proposal to send 545 servicemen to Afghanistan on a police training mission. The minority cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte is having difficulty finding a majority in favour of the proposal.

Two parties whose support is crucial, Green Left and the Christian Union, are expected to question the viability of the plan and are likely to express grave doubts about the security situation in Kunduz, where most of the trainers and soldiers will be based.

Less than half of the men and women to be sent to Kunduz province are police trainers, the others are military personnel who have to protect the instructors. MPs are concerned that Taliban attacks could turn the training mission into an unwanted fighting mission. Holland's military were involved in a four-year international mission in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province up to this year.

Wednesday's debate follows a hearing on Tuesday when parliament questioned representatives of the Afghan government, of the Dutch military, and independent experts. Four government ministers will be defending the proposal and will be answering questions from MPs. Whether the Dutch mission to Kunduz will go ahead will be decided after another round of debate on Thursday.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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