Dutch troops will remain in Afghanistan until December 2010 but will then definitely leave, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.
The paper says ministers will take a formal decision to extend the Netherlands’ role in the NATO mission at this afternoon’s cabinet meeting.
Quoting unnamed sources, the paper says 1,400 Dutch soldiers will serve in Afghanistan from next August, some 300 fewer than are there now.
The cost of extending the mission is put at between €700m and €1bn. Most of this will not come from the defence minsitry’s own budget.
Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen and defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop had both backed a four to six year extension to the mission, but army chiefs were opposed, the paper says.
News agency ANP says it will still take a further three weeks before the definite go-head is given by parliament. MPs are still to be briefed on military strategy by army chief Dick Berlijn.
And on December 7 there is a 12-hour parliamentary hearing at which aid groups, the Afghan defence minister, the governor of Uruzgan, soldiers and military officials will answer questions from MPs, ANP says.
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