Van Bommel 'disappointed' by Obama's outlook on Afghanistan

2 December 2009

Van Bommel 'disappointed' by Obama's outlook on Afghanistan

In the opinion of SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel, US President Barak Obama's decision to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan represents no essential change in strategy, a fact which he finds disappointing. "For the time being the war will continue. More combat troops mean more violence, more resistance and therefore more civilian victims. In addition, of course, there is now a call on the Netherlands to extend our army's presence. We must not give in to this pressure."

The decision to send 30,000 additional soldiers was not unexpected. American pressure on other NATO member states to join them in sending more troops has been growing for months. In taking this decision the US is opting for the same approach as that adopted in Iraq, as well as dictating to NATO how things should be done in Afghanistan. There has been no discussion of a new strategy. “Humanitarian aid for Afghanistan remains necessary," Van Bommel concedes, "but not in combination with the waging of war. This puts humanitarian projects in danger as they come to be seen as an extension of the West's military intervention."

Van Bommel will today ask the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence for their reaction to Obama's plans and how they see their consequences for the Netherlands.

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