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Cablegate: Netherlands/Afghanistan: Post-2010 Deployment

VZCZCXYZ0014
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTC #0514/01 2371459
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 251459Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3195
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 2831
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0414
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 5254
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2236
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

S E C R E T THE HAGUE 000514


NOFORN

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF NATO NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/AFGHANISTAN: POST-2010 DEPLOYMENT
POSSIBLE BUT NOT IN URUZGAN

REF: A. THE HAGUE 0419
B. THE HAGUE 0092...


",
222211,8/25/2009 14:59,09THEHAGUE514,"Embassy The
Hague",SECRET//NOFORN,09THEHAGUE419|09THEHAGUE92,"VZCZCXYZ0014
OO RUEHWEB
DE RUEHTC #0514/01 2371459
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 251459Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3195
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 2831
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0414
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 5254
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2236
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
","S E C R E T THE HAGUE 000514
NOFORN
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF NATO NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/AFGHANISTAN: POST-2010 DEPLOYMENT
POSSIBLE BUT NOT IN URUZGAN
REF: A. THE HAGUE 0419
B. THE HAGUE 0092
Classified By: Ambassador Fay Hartog Levin for reasons 1.4 (B, D).
1. (C) This cable continues reporting on post's efforts to
get the Dutch to ""yes"" on a post-2010 deployment in
Afghanistan (reftels).
2. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Labor Party leader Bos told the Ambassador
in confidence (STRICTLY PROTECT) the Dutch will likely stay
in Afghanistan post-2010 but not in Uruzgan. The cabinet
will probably not take that decision until the end of the
year. Post recommends next steps in our engagement (para 7).
END SUMMARY.
3. (S/NF) At the end of her August 24 courtesy call,
Ambassador talked one-on-one with Wouter Bos, the Labor Party
(PvdA) leader, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,
about Afghanistan. (COMMENT: Senior Dutch officials had
identified the Labor Party and Bos, in particular, as the
most reluctant member of the three-party governing coalition
to agree on staying in Afghanistan beyond the current 2010
mandate. END COMMENT.) Bos told the Ambassador in
confidence the issue of staying in Afghanistan was
politically unpopular, especially within his own party. ""The
Dutch have gone as far as they can go."" Two years ago, when
the Dutch decided to extend the mission in Uruzgan, everyone
agreed that would be the last time. If we now extend again,
Bos said, we will be asked every two years to stay on. It is
important to stick to our word and wrap up the mission.
This, Bos argued, was the official Labor Party position.
4. (S/NF) Bos then said the Government, with Labor Party
support, will be able to stay in Afghanistan after its
current mandate expires, but not in Uruzgan. The Ambassador
pressed Bos that it was more logical for the Dutch to remain
in Uruzgan where they had developed important contacts with
local tribes and leaders as well as funded numerous projects.
Bos admitted this was true, but did not know if staying in
Uruzgan would fly with his party.
5. (S/NF) The Ambassador mentioned the Embassy would be
hosting a number of senior USG officials in the near future
who would be willing to discuss Afghanistan with Bos (such as
USNATO Amb. Daalder and CENTCOM Gen. Petreaus). He said
Development Cooperation Minister Koenders was advising him on
all issues involving Afghanistan, including how to handle it
politically. If Bos is not available to meet with U.S.
visitors, he will make sure Koenders is. He also advised the
Ambassador the Cabinet would probably not make a final
decision on the deployment question until the end of the
year, December.
6. (S/NF) COMMENT: Queen Beatrix commented to the Ambassador
during her credentialing ceremony on August 19 that finding a
way forward on Afghanistan ""would be difficult,"" but must be
done. It appears the senior leadership of the body politic
agrees. We had heard from other Cabinet members, including
Foreign Minister Verhagen, that Bos and the Labor Party would
likely agree to extending the Dutch mission in Afghanistan
past 2010. Bos's statement, however, was the first time any
senior Labor Party leader had made that clear. Although
appearing to draw a line in the sand about leaving Uruzgan,
Qappearing
to draw a line in the sand about leaving Uruzgan,
Bos did not seem categorical about that issue. In our
engagement, we need to continue to stress the Alliance need
for the Dutch to remain in Afghanistan and in Uruzgan, in
particular; the progress the Dutch have made in Uruzgan and
the need to build upon their stability and development
efforts there; the increased U.S. contribution in military
and civilian personnel and resources in Afghanistan; and the
enhanced contributions of NATO and other partners. A word of
caution - the Dutch are concerned Jan Mohammed, the former
governor and local warlord, might be re-appointed governor of
Uruzgan if Pres. Karzai is re-elected. If that were to
happen, everyone, including our strongest supporters, says
the Dutch will not/not return to Uruzgan under any
circumstances. END COMMENT.
7. (S/NF) ENGAGEMENT PLAN: (A) The Ambassador continues her
courtesy calls, seeing Foreign Minister Verhagen and Defense
Minister van Middelkoop August 31. She will raise
Afghanistan and extending the Dutch mandate in both meetings.
She will also meet with parliamentary leaders in the near
future.
(B) USNATO Amb. Daalder visits Sept. 3 and will have meetings
with senior MoD and MFA officials. He will meet with
Verhagen and we have requested a meeting with Minister
Koenders. Amb. Daalder will also give a public address
talking about NATO in Afghanistan and will conduct several
press interviews.
(C) Defense Minister van Middelkoop plans to meet with
Secretary Gates in Washington September 10.
(D) CENTCOM Gen. Petreaus will visit the Netherlands in
support of the 65th anniversary of the WWII Market Garden
operation (""A Bridge Too Far"") in mid-September. He will
deliver three speeches throughout the country, which are
expected to get significant media attention. We are working
with his staff to identify opportunities for him to meet
appropriate ministers and parliamentarians.
(E) We recommend SRAP Amb. Holbrooke call Minister Koenders,
whom he met in late March in The Hague, to thank him for the
Dutch support of the Afghan elections (8 million Euros
contribution to UNDP, long and short-term staffers to the EU
election observers mission, 30 military personnel), to
discuss the recent Friends of Pakistan conference in Istanbul
(they pledged 86.7 million Euros in assistance over three
years at the Tokyo conference) and to talk about regional
developments. Amb. Holbrooke could offer to visit the
Netherlands if Koenders thought it would be helpful.
(F) Finally, we will re-examine our engagement plan at the
end of September in light of Gen. McCrystal's strategic
review and the results of these meetings.
LEVIN

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