Concessions as ministers try to save new Afghan mission

The cabinet has made a string of concessions to MPs about its planned police training mission to Afghanistan in the hope of getting parliamentary approval.

The mission had been in doubt because the left-wing greens GroenLinks and small Christian party ChristenUnie turned against the proposal.
Now the cabinet has pledged to present a revised proposal to MPs on Thursday morning. Ministers want to send a 545-strong mission to the northern province of Kunduz to work with local police forces.
‘There are a number of concessions which match our demands,’ GroenLinks leader Jolande Sap said on Wednesday evening.
During Wednesday’s debate on the issue, foreign minister Uri Rosenthal said the government would demand assurances from the Afghan authorities that the police trainers would not be used for military purposes.
The government is also prepared to extend the training period, currently set at six weeks, to make sure Afghan police officers are properly equipped to use weapons. Sixteen or 18 weeks are possible alternatives, Nos television said.


MPs are due to debate the mission on Thursday afternoon, but it is unclear if that will now go ahead pending the revised plan.
The minority cabinet needs the support of GroenLinks, D66 and ChristenUnie to win approval for its plans. The other parties, including coalition alliance partner PVV, have said they will not support the mission.

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