Dutch to pull soldiers out of Mali next year, strengthen Afghanistan mission

Photo: Ministry of Defence
Photo: Ministry of Defence

The Dutch cabinet has agreed to expand its mission in Afghanistan and to pull out of Mali, where it has been active since 2014.

Some 60 soldiers will now be sent to the north of Afghanistan on the request of Nato to help Germany train special Afghan forces and six police advisors will be seconded to the Nato mission in Kabul, defence minister Ank Bijleveld has told MPs.

The Netherlands already has around 100 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan to train local police and armed forces. The Dutch mission to Afghanistan will now be extended up to and including 2021, Bijleveld said.

The Netherlands will also continue to support the ‘strengthened’ Nato forces in Lithuania with 270 soldiers.

Dutch soldiers currently serving in Mali will return to the Netherlands in May 2019. Some 240 Dutch soldiers are currently with the much criticised UN peacekeeping effort in the land-locked west African country.

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