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Cablegate: Dutch Military and Diplomatic Officers Give The

VZCZCXRO1071
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #3963/01 3430651
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 090651Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3880
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003963

SIPDIS
NOFORN

STATE FOR SRAP HOLBROOKE, SCA/FO, SCA/A
STATE PASS USAID FOR ASIA/SCAA
USFOR-A FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/07/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV AF
SUBJECT: DUTCH MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC OFFICERS GIVE THE
HARD SELL TO REMAIN IN URUZGAN

REF: A. USNATO 563
B. THE HAGUE 731
C. THE HAGUE 673
D. THE HAGUE 663
E. THE HAGUE 595
F. STATE 124188

Classified By: Acting Coordinator For Interagency Provincial Affairs Ho
yt B. Yee, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S/NF) Summary: The Dutch soldiers and civilians
currently posted at the Dutch-led PRT Uruzgan are the
strongest advocates for continued Dutch presence in
Afghanistan after August 2010. They attempt to influence
their many visitors and policy makers in The Hague by
focusing on the positive impact of Dutch efforts in Uruzgan.
Though they are often frustrated that the true impact of
Dutch efforts is not resonating with the home audience, they
continue to lobby in the hopes of retaining some type of
Dutch footprint beyond next summer. Though their new
approach of including Afghan officials in briefings appears
to be having a positive impact, the Dutch civilians in
Afghanistan believe the chance of a large Dutch presence
beyond summer 2010 is low. End Summary.

2. (S/NF) Task Force Uruzgan (TFU) and the adjoining
Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) receive many visitors
from The Hague. Catering to anything from journalists to
royalty, Dutch military and diplomatic officers provide
detailed briefs on how the Dutch Three-D approach (defense,
diplomacy and development) has yielded tangible results in
one of the most impoverished and conservative provinces in
Afghanistan. Dutch civilians say that nearly all of their
visitors walk away from their brief time in Uruzgan with a
new found respect for the mission, even the many who arrive
as critics of continued Dutch involvement in Afghanistan.
3. (S/NF) For example, the Task Force Commander and civilian
representatives described the recent visit of Dutch Minister
of Interior and Kingdom Relations and senior Labor Party
member Gussje ter Horst as very successful. (Note: The Dutch
Labor Party has argued most adamantly to withdraw Dutch
troops from Uruzgan by the stated August 2010 deadline. End
Note.) Privately, Dutch civilians at the PRT are frustrated
that these ostensibly successful visits have not resonated
back in the Netherlands, and have not, therefore, guaranteed
public or official support for continued Dutch involvement in
Uruzgan. Dutch soldiers and civilians stationed in Uruzgan
are very passionate and boastful when describing the
achievements they and their predecessors have made here. As
one Dutchman put it, if every citizen of the Netherlands
could somehow visit the TFU/PRT, there would be little debate
on the matter of withdrawing in August 2010.

Afghans Voices Make the Point
-----------------

4. (S/NF) Recent briefings of Dutch visitors have featured
Afghans pleading for the Dutch to stay, possibly with some
coaching by the Dutch based at the PRT. At the conclusion of
the visit of Defense Minister Middlekoop, the acting Civilian
Representative Jean-Wilhelm Beaujean reported that Uruzgan
Governor Hamdam and the Chora District Chief Mohammad Daudhad
had been word perfect in their messaging to the minister,
particularly that Afghans want the Dutch to stay, that the
Dutch are achieving more than other coalition partners in
Uruzgan, and that NGOs will find it difficult to continue
operating in Uruzgan if the Dutch leave. The Minister
reportedly told Beaujean he agreed with the messages.
Beaujean quietly told U.S. PRT rep later, I see our talking
points are finally starting to work, and that once again we
sold the mission in a good way.

5. (S/NF) Even more indicative that Afghan voices are having
a positive impact in the debate was a recent Financial Times
interview of Governor Hamdam received wide coverage in the
Netherlands. In the November 23 piece, Governor Hamdam
reiterated The people of Uruzgan are very familiar with the
Dutch ) they have spent a lot of time here ) and they are
asking them to stay. If they do leave, it will mean they are
going at an important time with their job only half finished.

6. (S/NF) Civilian representatives at the current TFU
rotation in Uruzgan have also been pressing for
internationalization of the PRT, which they see as important
for optics more than increased capacity. For example,
Beaujean's efforts to gain additional civilians from the U.S.
and Australia appear to be driven by his personal opinion

KABUL 00003963 002 OF 002


that Dutch policy makers might find a continued Dutch
presence more palatable if there is international
participation.

Likely Scenarios after Summer 2010
-----------

7. (S/NF) In confidence, Dutch diplomats have said that a
large military presence in the province past August 2010 is
highly unlikely. One Dutch diplomat reported that
logistics teams are already gearing up for the withdrawal, as
some 80 large semi-trucks are being prepared to move critical
Dutch military equipment out of the province via land routes.
The debate now, they reported, is focused on whether or not
to retain the PRT and what form their involvement in the PRT
would take. Some Dutch diplomats believe that coordinating
national caveats and operational styles could be next to
impossible if the U.S. takes command of the battle space and
a Dutch civilian continues to lead the PRT. Therefore, they
believe the Dutch will propose that a small cadre of Dutch
development officers remain in Uruzgan, but under U.S.
leadership. Others believe differences could be easily
resolved if the right personalities were in place in
Uruzgan, allowing the Dutch to retain a relatively larger
Dutch presence.

8. (S/NF) Comment: Dutch PRT personnel are not optimistic
about the prospects for maintaining a large Dutch military
presence in Uruzgan, but are doing their best to convince The
Hague of the benefits of doing so. U.S. Representative to
the PRT will continue to urge Dutch colleagues to maintain
their mandate and vital role in coalition efforts, per
reftel. End Comment.
RICCIARDONE

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