Dutch Socialist Party M.P. Harry Van Bommel on Tuesday issued a press release calling the war in Afghanistan a “dirty war”. The Minister of Defence is not amused and has reacted with indignation.

The Dutch parliament approved the sending of troops to assist in the mopping up operation of pockets of Taliban fighters in the remote province of Uruzgan (approx. 250km south west of Kabul), under the auspices of a reconstruction program with the aim of “winning the hearts and minds” of the local population.

By now, that the marines have been replaced by an Aussie-Dutch Task Force under NATO command it is becoming clear that the war situation doesn’t allow any civil reconstruction work to begin as yet and that the soldiers instead, led by an American known only on a first name basis, do little else but fighting Taliban. Battles are known to be fierce at times.

The Dutch parliament, considering the composition of the forces, of course knew at the time of approval, that for the time being reconstruction efforts would be out of the question. The center-right Liberal Party Minister of Defense Henk Kamp, commenting on Van Bommel’s remarks, was wondering who it is exactly that is waging the dirty war, NATO troops or terrorists that are laying IEDs, targeting everyone indiscriminately. Indeed the stance taken by Mr Van Bommel smacks of hypocrisy, considering he must have known that the initial shipment to Afghanistan consisted of infantry, artillery, special forces, attack helicopters, F-16’s, and the like. Not exactly building materials.

It is also uncertain what the status of Mr Van Bommel’s press release exactly is. It does indicate that the new parliament, elected only last month, wouldn’t carry a motion against the caretaker Minister of Defense.




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