Cablegate: Dutch Parliament Endorses Government's Prt Decision

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: The Hague 1240

1. (U) On July 5 the Dutch Parliament broadly endorsed a
recent Cabinet decision to lead a Provincial Reconstruction
Team (PRT) in Baghlan, Afghanistan. Only the small far-left
Socialist Party opposed the mission. The operation,
announced in a June 28 government letter to parliament, will
consist of approximately 150 troops to be deployed initially
for one year beginning on September 1. The PRT will be made
up of three Military Observation and Liaison Teams (MOLT),
an operations center, a separate protection unit that can
act as a rapid reaction force and logistic elements
including medical support.

2. (U) Some parties in parliament only reluctantly supported
the deployment citing concerns over Dutch troops' safety and
questions as to the mission's purpose. Defense Minister
Kamp claimed he had engaged in "tough" negotiations to
secure Baghlan for the Dutch because "it is relatively quiet
there." Despite parliamentary skepticism on this point, the
fact that the PRT will be part of a NATO operation persuaded
the majority. The government also gave assurances that in
extremis Dutch troops could seek assistance from the U.S.,
Britain and Germany.

3. (U) MPs pressed Kamp to define the purpose of the Baghlan
mission. Kamp conceded Dutch troops would not be
responsible for guaranteeing security in the province,
stating that was the job of local authorities. He also said
Dutch troops are not to engage in counter-narcotics
operations as that would cause too much friction with local
warlords. In general, he suggested the presence of foreign
troops in Afghanistan has been conducive to stability,
reconstruction efforts, and refugee returns. Kamp specified
that Dutch troops are to mediate in conflicts, cooperate
with local police, assist relief organizations, help prepare
for elections, and collect information for both NATO forces
and the government in Kabul.

4. (SBU) Comment: This debate featured the standard
parliamentary concerns on all Dutch post-Srebrenica military
deployments, i.e., how dangerous will it be for Dutch forces
and who will provide in extremis support should things go
awry? Dutch governments regularly have to reassure
parliament on these points to gain endorsement for any
overseas military missions. End comment.


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