NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is doing his utmost to make it possible for Dutch soldiers to stay on in Afghanistan, the former Dutch foreign minister said at a press conference in Brussels.
‘It is not always easy,’ news agency ANP reported De Hoop Scheffer as saying. ‘It boils down to asking others to do more.’
The Dutch government is under pressure to extend the stay of its troops in the southern region of Uruzgan past the August 2008 deadline but says it wants more effort from other countries. The Netherlands has some 1,600 troops in the region.
‘I realise it is a difficult decision… 11 soldiers have died and that is 11 too many,’ De Hoop Scheffer told ANP, before noting that 71 Canadian soldiers have also been killed in Afghanistan.
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