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Green Left's Afghanistan plan: no support from SP

21 April 2010

Green Left's Afghanistan plan: no support from SP

SP Member of Parliament and foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel has told the centre-left Green Left party that their plan for a renewed military mission in Afghanistan will gain no support from the SP. Together with centrist liberals D66, the Green Left wants to see the government looking into the question of whether a police training mission, possibly under Dutch military protection, can be sent to Afghanistan in the coming months. According to Van Bommel, the proposal simply reproduces the kind of mission which led to the government's downfall in February.

Harry van Bommel During the debate the SP tried to clarify the proposal. According to Van Bommel the Foreign Minister is currently looking into the question of whether additional police trainers can be sent to Afghanistan. “The government has already said this in a letter to Parliament and we have nothing to say against it. What we have problems with is the idea of sending soldiers along with the police trainers. In that, Green Left goes a step further than what the government says it wants to do. This would mean the possibility of a continuing military mission, perhaps even in Uruzgan. We wouldn't support that."

As things stand the Netherlands has twenty police trainers in Afghanistan as part of a European Union-sponsored training mission which has the support of the SP. Later in the year a further six will be sent. Given the fact that the Dutch government fell over the issue and, moreover, the increasing doubt over the legitimacy of the Afghan government under Prime Minister Karzai, a new mission in that country is hardly desirable, to say the least. "As far as we are concerned the Netherlands' military contribution ends in December 2010 and no new mission will start," Van Bommel insists. "The presence of a large military force has failed to make Afghanistan safer, so we shouldn't be continuing along this disastrous course."

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