Afghan president thanks Dutch for support

Without the help of the Dutch military in Uruzgan, the recent elections in Afghanistan would not have been free or fair, Afghan president Hamid Karzai told Dutch MPs on Tuesday.

The president, who is on a two-day official visit, thanked his audience for Dutch support and expressed his appreciation of the work of the Dutch miltary in Uruzgan. The Netherlands has some 1,700 troops in the region working on rebuilding efforts under the NATO flag.
Karzai pointed out that the Afghan constitution, which is just three years old, states that a quarter of MPs should be female. ‘Voters made 27% of MPs female,’ he said.
He also expressed his delight that Afghan entrepreneurs are now visiting the Netherlands to do business. ‘Who would have thought it five years ago. Not me,’ he said.
Karzai, who arrived on Monday, had talks yesterday with ministers on efforts to rebuild Afghanistan after 30 years of war. Following his speech to parliament, Karzai had lunch with queen Beatrix.
He leaves on Tuesday evening for Paris where he will attend an international donor conference.

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