Van Bommel: Stop the expansion of the war to Pakistan

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.

Harry van BommelFollowing last summer's air-raids, conducted without Pakistani permission in the Pakistan-Afghan border area, US land attacks have recently begun. "What are the implications of this for troops of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and in particular for Dutch soldiers participating in the mission?" asks Van Bommel. "What, for example, will it mean for the delivery of goods to the ISAF troops, for which Pakistan has been responsible?”

During the last few years the governments of Pakistan and the US have worked together in the fight against Islamicist extremists and supporters of the Taliban. This cooperation has long been controversial in Pakistan because a section of the population is opposed to the American approach to combating terrorism. President Musharraf pursued this cooperation against the wishes of the people. Following his forced departure, close cooperation between Pakistan and the US seems to have ground to a halt. The Pakistani government positively exploded in anger at the American attacks.

“What we're dealing with here is a serious deterioration in the international security situation," Van Bommel says. "What I'm afraid of is an enlargement of the war and I want to see the Dutch government resisting this."

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