19 December 2008

Afghanistan: Premier sends Obama wrong message

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has asked Premier Jan-Peter Balkenende for an explanation of his statements during a recent television interview to the effect that he has received ‘calls’ from advisors to US President-elect Obama who are said to have asked him whether the Netherlands would be willing to prolong its military presence in Afghanistan beyond the currently agreed date of August 2010. Balkenende promised in response that the matter would be considered anew. “With this promise Balkenende has sent a message which is completely wrong,” says Van Bommel. “He is promising to reconsider the original resolve to withdraw before the end of 2010.”

Read more
18 December 2008

Afghanistan: SP demands openness over dangers

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has demanded an explanation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the supplying of troops in Afghanistan. According to reports in the international press, supply lines are subject to daily attacks by the Taliban and other militias in pursuit of booty.

Read more
19 September 2008

Van Bommel: Stop the expansion of the war to Pakistan

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has asked Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen for clarification regarding American attacks on Pakistani territory from within Afghanistan. Van Bommel, foreign affairs spokesman for the SP, wants to know what mandate formed the basis of these attacks, given that the Pakistani government has not given its permission for them. His fear is that what is taking place is the extension of the war in Afghanistan and that this will have consequences for Dutch soldiers in the area.

Read more
9 September 2008

Independent enquiry into torture in Uruzgan needed

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel wants to see an independent enquiry established into alleged torture of Afghans in the province of Uruzgan. Acts of torture are said to have been perpetrated by people under Dutch command. The Independent Afghan Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), based in the provincial capital Tarin Kowt, has access to six declarations by people who state that they were tortured, the daily newspaper De Pers reported on Tuesday.

Read more
3 August 2008

SP demands official enquiry into costs of Afghan mission

The General Accountancy Office of the Netherlands ("Algemene Rekenkamer" - ARK) must conduct an enquiry into the total costs of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan, according to SP Member of Parliament and foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel. Van Bommel's demand was prompted by recent reports that the mission may have been as much as four times more expensive than foreseen in August 2006, when the first Dutch soldiers arrived on Afghan soil. He will present an official request to this effect to the president of the ARK on on Monday.

Read more
9 July 2008

Afghanistan Tour: Peace will come only through negotiations with Taliban

SP Member of Parliament Farshad Bashir ended his Afghanistan Tour last Tuesday in Groningen. During the last few weeks, in six different towns in the Netherlands, he took part in discussions on the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan with aid organisations, SP Members of Parliament and the general public. “Supporters and opponents of the mission took the floor on each occasion, but they all had one thing in common," says Bashir. "They knew that the mission in Uruzgan is not a reconstruction mission but a military mission, and that peace in Afghanistan will come only through diplomacy, including talks with the Taliban.”

Read more
13 June 2008

‘The Dutch are fighting in Uruzgan primarily for their own safety'

Recently SP Member of Parliament Remi Poppe visited Afghanistan on a week-long fact-finding mission. It was, Poppe says, an impressive if depressing journey. "Our boys and girls are doing their best, but there's hardly any sign of reconstruction and they are fighting primarily to guarantee the safety of their own bases." Below is a report of Remi Poppe's experiences in the war-torn country.

Read more
11 June 2008

Karzai urges negotiations with Taliban

During his visit to the Netherlands, Afghan President Hamid Karzai this morning spoke with members of both houses of the national parliament. He emphasised that hard work must be done on political solutions to the problems in Afghanistan. “In the end Afghanistan's success will not be determined by military means," said President Karzai. "A political process of state formation in which as many groups as possible from Afghan society are involved is the key to a durable development of our country."

Read more
3 June 2008

Plan for war, no plan for peace

“You accuse the SP of having no answer to the Afghan problem, but I have to conclude that the government has no answer to my questions. If we're talking about the mission in Uruzgan, you've certainly got a plan for war, but no plan for peace." This was the pointed conclusion drawn by SP Senator Arjan Vliegenthart at the end of this afternoon's debate with Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen.

Read more


You are here