21 April 2010

Green Left's Afghanistan plan: no support from SP

SP Member of Parliament and foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel has told the centre-left Green Left party that their plan for a renewed military mission in Afghanistan will gain no support from the SP. Together with centrist liberals D66, the Green Left wants to see the government looking into the question of whether a police training mission, possibly under Dutch military protection, can be sent to Afghanistan in the coming months. According to Van Bommel, the proposal simply reproduces the kind of mission which led to the government's downfall in February.

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20 April 2010

Moving house, coming home

Harry van Bommelby Harry van Bommel

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26 March 2010

SP: ‘State Auditors should cost Afghanistan intervention'

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel wants the 'Algemene Rekenkamer', the Dutch state's own auditors, to launch an enquiry into the total costs of the Netherlands' military intervention in Afghanistan. Included in these costs, the SP spokesman on foreign affairs says, should be the preparations which began in the spring of 2006 as well as the whole cost of the final withdrawal now under way. Van Bommel sees it as unacceptable that the withdrawal of soldiers and materiél from Afghanistan and the dismantling of the bases in the region of Uruzgan where the Dutch military was active has turned out to cost € 115 million more than the sum reserved to cover it. He is also concerned about plans to extend the military presence on the pretext of organising the withdrawal.

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20 February 2010

Dutch government falls: SP leader Agnes Kant gives party's initial reaction

“Elections must be held as soon as possible. The electorate will then have the chance to determine where the blame for this crisis should be laid. The choice is between the humane and the social on the one hand and the neoliberal and antisocial on the other.”

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23 December 2009

SP demands immediate information when civilians fall victim to Dutch arms

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has asked Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop to ensure that he is informed immediately of any civilian victims of Dutch military activities in Afghanistan. Van Bommel’s demand follows revelations by national public television channel RTL, which used a request under the WOB, the Dutch equivalent of a freedom of information act, to obtain information which SP Members of Parliament have repeatedly requested. Van Bommel is also trying to find out if financial compensation paid to victims’ families compares with that paid out by other combatant nations.

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21 December 2009

By withdrawing, the Netherlands would be supporting Afghanistan

US President Barak Obama has elected to greatly increase troop strength, step up combat and then gradually withdraw from Afghanistan. Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop regards Obama’s failure to talk about an ‘exit strategy’ as a sensible decision. Yet an exit strategy is precisely what is needed in this hopeless war.

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2 December 2009

Van Bommel 'disappointed' by Obama's outlook on Afghanistan

In the opinion of SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel, US President Barak Obama's decision to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan represents no essential change in strategy, a fact which he finds disappointing. "For the time being the war will continue. More combat troops mean more violence, more resistance and therefore more civilian victims. In addition, of course, there is now a call on the Netherlands to extend our army's presence. We must not give in to this pressure."

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25 November 2009

Parliament calls for closure of secret prison in Afghanistan

Parliament has voted to support an SP motion calling on the government to close the secret prison in Bagram in Afghanistan. Harry van Bommel, SP Member of Parliament and foreign policy spokesman, says: “Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has always said that he wants to pursue a strict policy on human rights. The Netherlands is against the secret prison in Guantanamo Bay, so the government must also be in favour of the immediate closure of Bagram. Verhagen must insist to Afghanistan and the United States, and right away, that this prison close.”

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15 November 2009

'Dwindling support for war in Afghanistan'

Public opinion appears to be changing in relation to the war in Afghanistan. Ever fewer citizens of NATO member states believe that a military victory can be achieved. The call to bring the soldiers home sounds, therefore, ever louder.

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