Will Others Follow Dutch and Leave Afghanistan?
VOA, March 3, 2010
The Dutch government has collapsed over whether to keep its soldiers in Afghanistan. In this report from Washington, Senior Correspondent André de Nesnera looks at what effect - if any - that will have on other nations that have troops in that country under the banner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
About 2,000 Dutch troops have been in Afghanistan's southern province of Uruzgan since 2006. They are part of the 86,000 troop NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
Analysts say NATO has three objectives in Afghanistan. The first is to assist the Afghan government in its efforts to rebuild and stabilize the country. The second is to train the Afghan army and police. And the third is to hunt down and eliminate insurgents in southern Afghanistan - home of the Taliban, ousted from power by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001.
About 1,500 of the 2,000 Dutch troops, along with American and British forces, are engaged in fighting insurgents and the Taliban. The remaining 500 Dutch forces are involved in civilian reconstruction efforts and training the afghan army and police.
Dutch troops withdrawal
But now Dutch troops will begin to return home this August, following the collapse last month of the government over its Afghan policy. One of the major coalition members - the Labor Party - left the government saying it would not support extending the Afghan deployment.
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Dutch anti-Islamists makes key gains in local elections - BBC
The Netherlands lands a blow to the Afghanistan coalition - Editorial Los Angeles Times
Dutch Social Democrat Thijs Berman on Afghanistan - European Parliament