NATO chief’s Afghan comments ‘premature’

The cabinet and MPs are irritated by comments made by NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that the Netherlands should keep troops in Afghanistan after the current mandate expires next year.

Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen told today’s Volkskrant that it is not up to De Hoop Scheffer, a former Dutch foreign minister, to decide on the issue. Aid minister Bert Koenders said the comments were ‘premature’.
MPs from various parties echoed this view. They said it was up to NATO to ensure a third country joins the Netherlands and Australia in the restructuring effort in the southern province of Uruzgan.

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