‘Longer Afghan mission will tax army’

Any extension to the Dutch army mission to Afghanistan beyond the agreed two years will seriously tax army resources, according to internal army documents in the hands of the Telegraaf.

The documents, which the paper has put online, say an overstay of a year would result in a serious shortage of spare parts, equipment and specialist personnel.
A spokesman for the defence ministry told ANP the document was a low level report which had not yet been sent to the ministry and no conclusions could be drawn from its contents. The spokesman said the document was of the type used by military officials to make long-term plans.
The cabinet is set to decide this summer whether or not to extend the Dutch mission. Some 1,800 Dutch troops are currently in Afghanistan, largely in the southern region of Uruzgan.
The leaked report says that army vehicles and weapons systems risked becoming immobilised because of breakdowns, the lack of spare parts and uncertainty over maintenance contracts.
It would also be more difficult to find support and specialist staff, such as cooks and doctors, who are willing to serve in Afghanistan, the report said.
The Dutch army has been widely praised for its way of working in Afghanistan, in which building trust with the locals is central.

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