…to train police. Further to the Update here,
Media out! Of Afghanistan/People’s Daily Online Update
THE HAGUE — The Dutch cabinet agreed Friday to a police training mission to Afghanistan, 11 months after the last government collapsed in a spat over military deployment to the conflict-torn nation.
“The cabinet decided today to send an integrated police training mission to Afghanistan in the period 2011 to 2014,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced after the weekly cabinet meeting.
“In total, the mission will entail 545 men and women,” he said, adding it would have a “strict training objective. No component of this mission will be involved in any military offensive.”
The decision comes some six months after Dutch troops withdrew from Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)…
NATO’s request for an extension of the Dutch deployment sparked a political row that led to the centre-left government’s collapse in February last year, precipitating the August pullout.
The governing coalition at the time was led by the Christian Democratic Action, which is now part of a right-leaning minority government in a loose alliance with the anti-Islam PVV, which is opposed to the training mission.
The government “needs a majority in parliament” to send the mission, said spokesman Henk Brons.
That means Rutte will need support from opposition lawmakers in the face of the PVV’s disapproval.
The prime minister said Friday the purpose of the new training mission would be “the strengthening of the civilian police and justice system in Afghanistan” and the “advancement of the constitutional state”.
The mission would include 225 police trainers in Kabul, Kunduz and Bamiyan.
“We will also retain four F16 (fighter jets) in Afghanistan. The F16s play an essential role in finding roadside bombs and boosting our security on the ground,” he said.
That will involve technical support personnel, including medical and logistics experts, as part of the team, said Rutte, arguing that the Netherlands’ work in Afghanistan “is not done”…
Rutte, who insisted the decision was “thoroughly deliberated” and based on the outcome of two fact-finding missions to Afghanistan, said the security of the Dutch trainers would be ensured by troops from Germany, the lead ISAF nation in Kunduz.
More from AP via the CBC website (will our other major media cover the news?):
The government says in a letter to parliament the mission will involve 225 police trainers and 320 military support staff who will be stationed in the capital Kabul and the northern province of Kunduz…
Plus earlier from Radio Nederland:
…The Dutch trainers would be deployed under the auspices of the European Police Training Mission (EUPOL)…
…Four Dutch F-16s would have to stay on in Afghanistan to provide protection to the troops. The jet fighters would have to be relocated from the southern province of Kandahar to the north of the country. The F-16 unit includes about 120 troops, bringing the total number of personnel for the mission to about 500…
So much for those quittists hoping for a grand Western bug-out. And aren’t those F-16s just a hoot?
Our government…has not been willing to employ our CF-18s in Afghanistan to support the CF and allied forces there even though urged to do so by our allies. Too fearful of political and media reaction if a bomb or missile killed some civilians accidentally, don’t you know…
H/t Terry Glavin.
Update thought: The real message here, what with Canada’s also retreating to a training role, is that only two NATO members–the US and UK (plus the Danes)–are willing to engage in extended combat in Afstan. Pathetic. And why the Brits have a real special relationship with the Americans and we do not. The way of the real, not Byers and Staples, world.