Talk to the Taliban, urges Pronk

Labour party stalwart Jan Pronk, currently candidate for the post of party chairman, says the government should be talking to the Taliban, reports Monday’s Volkskrant. It is the only way to make a success of the Dutch mission in the Afghan province of Uruzgan, Pronk said in Utrecht on Saturday, according to the paper.

Sometimes the west has to talk to the most unsavoury of people if there is to be any chance of bringing oppression and violence to an end, Pronk told the paper. A former aid minister, Pronk was the United Nations special representative in Sudan before being thrown out for his stinging criticism of the government and army.
Earlier on Saturday, Pronk hit back at critics of his candidacy for the party leadership. Former party chairman Ruud Vreeman said last week that Pronk’s election would lead to a split in the party. He was joined in his criticism by senator Klaas de Vries and education minister Ronald Plasterk among others. Pronk told Saturday’s NRC that he considered the comments as a ‘stab in the back’.

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