Dutch Gov't Collapses over Afghan Mission
2010-02-21 0:00

By Arthur Max | YahooNews.com

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said Sunday Dutch troops will begin leaving southern Afghanistan in August, since his caretaker government has no authority to accept a NATO request to stay on.

Speaking a day after his coalition government collapsed over the issue, Balkenende said the Netherlands will end its role in Uruzgan province, where 21 Dutch soldiers have been killed since the mission was first deployed in 2006.

"Our task as the lead nation ends in August this year," he said on Dutch television.


Netherlands' Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, front left, talks to the media to announce that the second largest party in his three-party alliance is quitting, in The Hague, Netherlands, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. The Dutch coalition government collapsed Saturday over irreconcilable differences on whether to extend the Netherlands' military mission in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/ Evert-Jan Daniels)

A marathon cabinet meeting that broke up before dawn Saturday ended with the walkout of the second largest party in the government, Labor, which accused the dominant Christian Democratic Alliance of reneging on a 2007 agreement to bring the troops home this year.

On Monday, the premier formally will advise Queen Beatrix that he no longer commands a majority in parliament and will hand in the resignations of the six Labor Party ministers. That will begin the process likely to lead to an election in May, one year ahead of schedule.

The impending drawdown was clearly bitter for Balkenende, who argued forcefully to remain in Uruzgan on a scaled-down training mission for Afghan security forces. He repeated Sunday that it would be valueless to conduct such training missions outside Uruzgan.

Under the Dutch system, a caretaker cabinet cannot take actions that lack consensus, and therefore Balkenende said he was bound by an earlier decision to relinquish the command position in Uruzgan as of Aug. 1.
The pullout will take up to three months, and the last of its soldiers will be gone from the volatile province by December.

Earlier this month, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sent a letter to the Dutch government asking it to consider an extension of its mission to prepare the Afghan army and police to take responsibility for the province.

Balkenende charged that Labor went back on its agreement to at least examine several options for staying in Afghanistan.

The parliament was expected to hold another debate on Afghanistan shortly, taking up the question of whether the Air Force could deploy F-16s, helicopters and headquarters staff and whether development workers and even diplomats could be stationed outside Kabul, the capital.
But the current mood in parliament is hardly amenable to a continued presence there.

In the debate last Thursday, a clear majority of the 150-member house was in favor of pulling out, with the split laid bare between Balkenende and his finance minister, Labor Party leader Wouter Bos.

Article from: News.Yahoo.com



Related Articles
Icelandic president angers Britain, Dutch over bank bill
Many Dutch prepare for 2012 apocalypse
Watching Olympics? Meanwhile NATO launches major Afghanistan offensive
Dutch government collapses as partners fall out over Afghanistan


Latest News from our Front Page

Gunman Storms Dutch TV Station Demanding Airtime
2015-01-30 23:32
Dutch authorities have released few details about the bizarre case of 19-year-old Tarik Zahzah’s attack on the main news studio of television station NOS on Thursday. To get the obvious question out of the way first, the police say there is no evidence that Zahzah, who is half-Egyptian, acted on behalf of organized terrorism. The authorities always say that on the ...
How Alan Dershowitz bullied rape victims to protect a serial child molester
2015-01-30 23:40
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself. Dershowitz and the UK’s Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by ...
Alchemical Banksters
2015-01-30 22:39
This past week, the world's preeminent vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can't have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with ...
Men must prove a woman said ’Yes’ under tough new rape rules
2015-01-30 4:54
New guidance will be issued to all police forces and prosecutors as part of a ’toolkit’ to move rape investigations into the 21st century Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated. The Director of Public Prosecutions said it was ...
4 beheaded in Saudi Arabia less than a week into King Salman's rule
2015-01-30 3:13
Comment: So when will the the "Human rights" promoting liberal west elite decide invade Saudi Arabia like they did Libya? Members of Magic Movement stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in October 2011. Four people have been executed in Saudi Arabia less than a week after 79-year-old King Salman assumed power following the ...
More News »