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Afghanistan

22 April 2008

The Uruzgan Effect

This week saw the parliamentary debate on progress in Afghanistan. Or, to put it more accurately, retrogression in that country. According to reports from the UN and other organisations, 2007 was the least safe year for Afghanistan since 2001, and 2008 threatens to be still worse. The production of drugs in 2007 broke world records. With scores like these, you have to ask what we're actually doing there.

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23 January 2008

Van Bommel: Death penalty for Afghan journalist unacceptable

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has spoken out against the condemning to death of a journalist in Afghanistan. The journalist in question had downloaded material from the Internet on the position of women in Islamic societies. "The Netherlands should make cooperation with Afghanistan dependent on whether the country is prepared to respect human rights," said the SP's and foreign affairs spokesman.

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11 January 2008

Van Bommel demands explanation of evidence of Netherlands' participation in 'Enduring Freedom'

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel will use Tuesday's parliamentary question time to demand answers from Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop regarding Dutch involvement in military operations outside of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) territory. The unauthorised involvement was revealed by a German military officer in a newly-published book, Endstation Kabul.

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18 December 2007

SP leader says ‘Support Afghanistan, Stop the War’ as Parliamentary debate on Uruzgan ends

The Netherlands must help Afghanistan, but you don't do that by dropping bombs, said SP leader Jan Marijnissen in this evening's concluding session of the parliamentary debate on the prolongation of the military presence in the troubled province of Uruzgan.

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17 December 2007

Afghanistan: Parliamentary debate on prolongation of Dutch military presence – Van Bommel calls for ‘credible reconstruction’

Stop the war, open negotiations with the Taliban and concentrate reconstruction on the north and west of Afghanistan. That was the kernel of the argument presented by SP Member of Parliament and foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel in Monday's debate on the prolongation of the Dutch military mission in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan.

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17 December 2007

Support Afghanistan, Stop the War

Under the slogan “Support Afghanistan, Stop the War”, the organisation “Five to Twelve” organised this morning a demonstration in front of the parliament building in The Hague. The action was timed to precede today's parliamentary debate on the prolongation of the Netherlands' military presence in the troubled Afghan province of Uruzgan.

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6 December 2007

Hearing on Afghanistan: extra session organised by SP, Green Left and Troops Out

Today saw the organisation by the parliamentary groups of the SP and the Green Left, in cooperation with the Troops Out of Afghanistan Committee, of a hearing on Uruzgan, the troubled Afghan province where Dutch armed forces are currently engaged. The event preceded a major official hearing of the Standing Parliamentary Committees on Defence and on Foreign Affairs, planned for the following day, at which critics of the recently decided prolongation of the Dutch military mission have been excluded from the roster of speakers.

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30 November 2007

Prolongation of Uruzgan mission is support for NATO, not for Afghanistan

Prolongation of the Dutch military mission in Uruzgan can do nothing further to help Afghanistan and is primarily a move to prevent NATO from suffering the loss of face it fears it would undergo should the mission be discontinued. So argues SP foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel in reaction to the government's decision to extend the Netherlands' military presence in the country until at least 2010. “This decision means that we are once again investing a billion euros in an impossible armed mission, while we would be doing a lot more to help the Afghan people if we were to invest instead in the reconstruction of education, health care and infrastructure in the more stable, peaceful areas,” Van Bommel said.

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9 January 2007

NATO responsible for too many civilian victims in Afghanistan

SP Member of Parliament and Foreign Affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel is seeking clarification following a statement by NATO spokesman Brig. Richard E. Nugee, who, referring to the campaign in southern Afghanistan during 2006, said that “the single thing that we have done wrong and we are striving extremely hard to improve on is killing innocent civilians” Brig. Nugee admitted that dozens of Afghan civilians had lost their lives as a result of airstrikes and violent attacks in which NATO troops were involved.

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