Nato suggests Afghan training role

Christian Democrat and Labour MPs both support a suggestion by a Nato chief that Dutch soldiers remain in Afghanistan to train local troops, most newspapers report on Monday.

Labour has always been adamant that the Netherlands must start pulling out its forces in August, despite mounting pressure from the US and other allies for the Dutch to stay.
On Saturday, Nato brigader Simon Levey said in the Volkskrant a training role would be an alternative to the military mission.
Labour’s parliamentary leader MariĆ«tte Hamer told a radio debate on Sunday the suggestion is ‘an interesting option’.
‘We want to stop the fighting mission but we do not want to abandon the Afghans,’ she said.
The CDA’s parliamentary leader Pieter van Geel said training Afghan soldiers could fit perfectly into a follow-up mission and GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema was also supportive.
But defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop reacted coolly to the suggestion, the Volkskrant said. ‘I have one military advisor and that is armed forces chief Peter Van Uhm,’ he told the paper.
Nato soldiers are already involved in training Afghan soldiers and police officials.
The cabinet is due to take a final decision on the Netherlands’ future role in Afghanistan by March 1.

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