There are troubling signs in Afghanistan that some of the NATO countries are pulling their troops out of the country. The Dutch and Canada are making plans to leave Afghanistan.
Dutch government collapses in dispute over Afghan mission; war contribution in doubt
Associated Press Writer
9:29 AM CST, February 20, 2010
AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch coalition government collapsed Saturday over whether to extend the country's military mission in Afghanistan, leaving the future of its 1,600 soldiers fighting there uncertain.
An early election is now expected.Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced that the second largest party in his three-party alliance is quitting, ending an uneasy partnership."Where there is no trust, it is difficult to work together. There is no road along which this cabinet can go further," Balkenende said.
The Dutch debate comes as opinion polls in many troop-providing European countries indicate growing public opposition to sending more soldiers to Afghanistan amid a global financial crisis and shrinking defense budgets.
Any Dutch withdrawal would be a worrying sign for NATO, which has struggled to raise the 10,000 additional troops that its top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has demanded to accompany the 30,000 American reinforcements being deployed there.
In another sign of the weakening commitment to the war, Canada is planning to withdraw its entire 2,800-strong unit from Afghanistan by the end of 2011. The Canadian contingent, the third-largest after the U.S. and Britain, serves with the Dutch in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan.Balkenende made no mention of elections as he spoke to reporters after a marathon 16-hour Cabinet meeting that ended close to dawn.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 10:10 AM