Longer Afghan mission not a certainty

It is unlikely that the Dutch mission in Afghanistan will be extended past August 2008, defence minister Henk Kamp told MPs on Thursday evening. ‘Continuing on the present course is simply a theoretical possibility, we must realise that,’ Kamp said.

Kamp said that the two-year mission required a great deal of effort from Dutch troops. A decision on whether to extend the Dutch mandate to rebuild parts of southern Afghanistan will be up to the next cabinet, he stressed.
Everyone agreed that the work would not be completed by mid-2008, ‘but at least the Dutch will have laid solid groundwork,’ he said. The Dutch have been praised for their role in winning trust from the locals. There are some 1,900 Dutch soldiers stationed in the country.
Foreign minister Ben Bot told MPs that the UN was to open five more offices in Afghanistan, including one in Uruzgan, where Dutch troops are stationed. UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon had told him about the new offices during his visit to The Hague, Bot said.

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