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U.S. Pressure Over Afghanistan Leads To Dutch Gov. Collapse

Posted by Newshoggers.com on February 20th, 2010

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By Steve Hynd

Here’s a fine state of affairs:

The Dutch government has ­collapsed over disagreements on whether or not to extend troop deployment in Afghanistan.

The prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, said the Labour party – the second-largest party in his coalition government – was quitting.

Balkenende has been weighing up a request from Nato for Dutch troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2010.

Just under 2,000 Dutch personnel have been serving in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, where 21 Dutch soldiers have been killed.

Balkenende’s Christian Democratic Alliance wants to keep a trimmed-down military presence in the region, but the Labour party has demanded the Netherlands sticks to a scheduled withdrawal.

The troops should have returned home in 2008, but their stay was extended to August 2010 because no other Nato country offered replacements.

“A plan was agreed to when our soldiers went to Afghanistan,” said the Labour leader, Wouter Bos. “Our partners in the government didn’t want to stick to that plan, and on the basis of their refusal we have decided to resign from this government.”

The Dutch had to be strong armed into joining the Coalition in Afghanistan in the first place and now, when the papers say NATO it should be understood they mean the U.S. – which is leaning on all it’s European NATO allies to come up with 10,000 troops to complement McChrystal’s 30,000 surge. Back on 3rd December, Radio Netherlands’ press roundup noted that:

De Volkskrant writes that Washington has asked The Hague to “remain militarily-engaged in Afghanistan”. The paper says US Vice President Joe Biden rang Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on Wednesday and expressed, “the hope that the Netherlands will remain engaged in Afghanistan after 2010″.

AD phrases it slightly differently: “US increases pressure: the Dutch must stay in Afghanistan”. The populist tabloid reports that The Hague “is under severe pressure to extend its Afghanistan mission past 2010,” adding, “the American Minister Joe Biden (AD obviously does not know that the US does not have ministers and Joe Biden is the vice president) personally rang Prime Minister Balkenende yesterday with the urgent request to keep Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan”.

The populist De Telegraaf sums up the mood in the Netherlands quite neatly with its headline, “let the US go motivate somebody else to go and fight in Afghanistan”.

As far as I’m aware, Biden doesn’t have a clear position in the NATO hierarchy.

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  1. keesjan says:

    The us fucked up our whole country with all their wars! We hate them.

    From holland

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