25 October 2009

SP leader Agnes Kant visits Dutch troops in Afghanistan

While other party leaders were in Suriname, Agnes Kant chose to join a number of fellow members of the Dutch parliament visiting the country's troops stationed in Afghanistan. “The enormous involvement and the effort put in by the Dutch soldiers made a strong impression on me," said Kant. "Whatever we may think of this mission, you have to have respect for that."

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24 October 2009

NATO's New Strategic Concept must define relations with the rest of the world

NATO and its member states must recognise that in a fast-changing world new answers must be found to the security questions of the twenty-first century. They sometimes seem not to realise that the Cold War is in the past and that NATO must redefine its position in the global security architecture. In addition, the alliance should not be afraid to look for unorthodox solutions. That was the message of the seminar "NATO at 60- the future ahead” organised by the Dutch Senate on Friday on an initiative from the SP.

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13 October 2009

Uruzgan: soldiers' union signals need for serious debate

The soldiers' trade union AFMP is right to be critical over the question of the mission in the Afghan region of Uruzgan, argues Harry van Bommel. Defence Minister Eimert Van Middelkoop's anger over the union's position is misplaced. The AFMP's statement should form the overture to a debate which is urgently needed.

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9 October 2009

The Eighty Year War

When it comes to war, politicians often turn their backs on the truth. But this is not the case for soldiers. They have to do the dirty work and clean up afterwards, and for this reason they have a major interest in the truth. "The first casualty of war is truth", is a well-known saying which is more than relevant in this context.

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1 October 2009

Afghanistan: Civilian deaths from bombing must be thoroughly investigated

SP foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel has asked the Minister of Defence to launch a thorough and exhaustive enquiry into circumstances surrounding the bombing in Afghanistan by a Dutch F-16 aircraft through which a still unknown number of civilians lost their lives. Following an exchange of fire involving British troops in Lashkar Gah in the province of Helmand, Dutch F-16s were called to support. During the raid that followed, a bomb was dropped on a house, wounding and killing a number of civilians.

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24 September 2009

SP wants to know: “Are Dutch troops coming home from Afghanistan?”

SP Member of Parliament and Foreign Affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel has asked Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen whether the Dutch government intends to hold to its commitment to withdraw the country’s troops from Afghanistan. Van Bommel’s question was prompted by concerns provoked by the minister’s statement, during a news programme broadcast on Wednesday by national radio, to the effect that in his view the Netherlands should give careful thought to the question of whether troops should remain in the Afghan region of Uruzgan after 2011.

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10 September 2009

Prolongation of Dutch military presence in Afghanistan? SP demands clarification

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel, the party's spokesman on foreign affairs, has asked Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen to comment on reports in the international press to the effect that the Dutch and US governments have agreed that some 500 soldiers from the Netherlands will remain in the Uruzgan region of Afghanistan beyond the originally agreed date of 2010. “The Netherlands has made its contribution," Van Bommel says. "500 soldiers remaining in Uruzgan will simply mean a continuation of the war being fought there."

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8 May 2009

The governor of Farah

Farshad Bashirby Farshad Bashir.

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11 January 2009

Van Bommel demands explanation of conflicting statements on new Afghanistan mission

SP foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel will use Tuesday's parliamentary question time to ask Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop to explain conflicting comments from members of the cabinet regarding the continuation of a Dutch military presence in Afghanistan beyond the currently agreed date of 2010.

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