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Van Bommel: ‘New Afghanistan mission is military in nature’

7 January 2011

Van Bommel: ‘New Afghanistan mission is military in nature’

The SP is strongly against the proposed new military mission in Afghanistan on the grounds that the context in which it will take place is one of war. ‘There’s no other way to describe these conditions,’ points out SP Member of Parliament and Foreign Affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel.

Harry van BommelThe much-vaunted civilian character of this mission turns out to a rather partial description. In fact, the mission has a strongly military character. Of the 545 people who will be deployed, only forty-five – 8% - are civilians. In addition, this new mission is not a purely training operation, given that four F16 fighter planes will be deployed with a total staff of 120. If necessary these will be available to perform armed actions.

Previous governments promised that the Netherlands would, at the end of the operation in the Uruzgan province, quit Afghanistan and that there would be no new major mission. ‘The cabinet is indeed, however, instigating a major mission,’ says Van Bommel. ‘545 people are to be sent and the costs will run over three years to almost half a billion euros. So this new mission goes completely against earlier agreements between the previous governments and Parliament.’

According to Van Bommel the mission has nothing to do with the reconstruction of the security apparatus of a country which is being rebuilt after a conflict. ‘Quite to the contrary,’ he says, ‘the war is in full throttle and this operation is in support of one of the parties in that war. Others must, furthermore, ensure the safety of the Dutch soldiers, a risky position, as history has demonstrated. The whole operation is military in nature.’

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