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Van Bommel wants defence minister held accountable for withholding information on Kunduz

13 February 2012

Van Bommel wants defence minister held accountable for withholding information on Kunduz

Well before the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed on the current police training mission in the Afghan province of Kunduz, the Netherlands already knew that there would be far too few officers there to conduct the operation. This has become clear from a reliable document from the Dutch embassy in Kabul which Dutch national daily newspaper De Pers has managed to get hold of.

According to the document, during talks General Stuart Beare, head of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, warned that if the Netherlands was alone in sending trainers to Kunduz, numbers would probably be very low. This information was not transmitted during the debate with Parliament in April last year, when it was already known to Defence Minister Hans Hillen, who attended the debate. “This information was essential for the debate,” says Van Bommel. “It concerned, remember, the precise nature of the mission. That this information was held back is incomprehensible and extremely bad. The minister must be held responsible for this.”

In October of last year seven trainers returned early from Kunduz because they had no work to do. After that, the second batch of trainers was halved, with ten out of the twenty staying at home. “I want the minister to explain what the implications of this are for the number of officers that the Netherlands is actually going to be training,” says Van Bommel. “It can surely only mean that this will be fewer than the figure of around 3,000 given by the minister last year.”

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