Mission in Uruzgan to continue, says minister

The Dutch mission in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan will continue despite the death of a tenth soldier, defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop announced on Monday evening.

‘The armed forces have staying power and the mission will go on until August 2008 despite the difficulty of having to announce these deaths,’ the minister is reported as saying in Tuesday’s Volkskrant.
Army chiefs said on Monday that 30-year-old sergeant Martijn Rosier was killed and his corporal injured by an roadside bomb on Sunday night. .
Whether the mission will be extended beyond August 2008 has yet to be decided. Mark Rutte, leader of the right-wing liberal party VVD, is currently in Afghanistan prior to making his decision on the matter. He is the only Dutch politician to visit the area and told the Volkskrant he wants to see the situation for himself.
Rutte, who is accompanied by the NATO commander-in-chief general John Craddock, told the paper that before there can be any talk of extending the mission, there must be extra money for the defence ministry and more soldiers from other countries.
According to Craddock the Dutch contribution to the mission is vital.

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