Dutch Government Dissolved Over Afghanistan Debate

The Netherlands’ role in Afghanistan has been put in doubt after the Labor Party decided to pull out of the ruling coalition due to misunderstandings on the continued role of Dutch soldiers in the NATO-led war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had requested the Netherlands to extend the tour of duty of its about 2,000 military personnel in Afghanistan beyond an August deadline.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende‘s Christian Democratic Alliance was reportedly amenable to the NATO’s proposal, but the Labor Party of Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos opposed the extension plan. The conflict is expected to lead to early general elections in the country.

Moreover, it could affect the NATO’s ongoing mission to flush out Taliban from the city of Marjah, a known stronghold of the rebels. Operation in Marjah has recently entered its second week, with U.S. Marines-led NATO forces encountering stiff resistance from the Taliban rebels. The operation is expected to last more than one month.