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Van Bommel demands explanation of conflicting statements on new Afghanistan mission

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.

Van Middelkoop said last month that the Netherlands' contribution to Task Force Uruzgan would be terminated. Yet Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said in today's De Telegraaf, a leading daily newspaper, that absolutely no decision has been taken.

Harry van Bommel “The cabinet twists and turns continually when it comes to Afghanistan,” says Van Bommel. “First we were told it was a reconstruction mission, and then it turned out that it was in fact a military operation. It would last until 2008, then it would be 2010. And now the door has been opened to the possibility of several more years. All of this chopping and changing adds hundreds of millions of euros to the cost, while any positive results are negligible. The cabinet needs to put an end to this.”

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