Dutch defence minister Ank Bijleveld has described the resignation of her US counterpart James Mattis as ‘terrible’, the Volkskrant reported on Friday afternoon.
Mattis has ‘always kept an eye on working together with allies’ which is ‘of great importance to the Netherlands,’ the paper quotes the minister as saying.
Mattis’ went public with his decision to quit after President Trump said he was withdrawing troops from Syria – a decision the general opposes. Trump is also now thought to be preparing to bring American troops out of Afghanistan.
Now is not a good time to leave Afghanistan because efforts are being made to bring the Taliban and Afghan government to the negotiating table at the same time, Bijleveld said.
‘This is when you need security and stability,’ she said. ‘So it is premature and inopportune to leave.’ The Netherlands has around 100 soldiers in Afghanistan.
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