The cabinet has voted in favour of sending a new 545-man mission to Afghanistan, just six months after pulling out of the military efforts there.
The aim of the new mission is to ‘strengthen the civilian police and legal system to boost the functioning of the Afghan constitution,’ according to a cabinet statement.
Soldiers will only be part of the team as ‘trainers, support staff, doctors, technicians and logistical support’, the statement said. The training mission’s security will be largely in the hands of German troops.
In addition, four Dutch F16 fighter jets will remain in the country, the statement said.
They will be used in tracking down bombs and will take part in military action in ‘acute emergencies to protect Afghan and international units if they are threatened directly’.
The cost of the mission is put at €470m between now and 2015 when it will wind down.
Prime minister Mark Rutte and foreign affairs minister Uri Rosenthal are due to hold a news conference on the decision later on Friday.
The anti-Islam PVV, which supports the government on economic policy, has already said it opposes the new mission, forcing the cabinet to look for support elsewhere to get the proposal through parliament.
The Labour party has also said it does not support the project because of the involvement of combat troops.
The previous government collapsed after Labour insisted the withdrawal of Dutch soldiers from Uruzgan went ahead in August as planned.
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