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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04THEHAGUE1240 2004-05-21 13:49:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

NATO-AFGHANISTAN: DUTCH STAND FIRM ON GOING TO

Tags:   MARR MOPS AF NL NATO 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 001240 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2014
TAGS: MARR MOPS AF NL NATO
SUBJECT: NATO-AFGHANISTAN: DUTCH STAND FIRM ON GOING TO
BAGHLAN

REF: A. STATE 111287


B. THE HAGUE 1210 (NOTAL)

Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE DANIEL R. RUSSEL FOR REASONS 1.5 (B
AND D)



1. (C) In recent conversations with FM Bot, PM Foreign
Policy Advisor Swartbol, and CHOD ADM Kroon, Amb. Sobel
discussed request (outlined in ref A) for the Dutch to
consider leading a PRT in western Afghanistan instead of
Baghlan. PolMilOff separately raised ref A points with MFA
Security Policy Operations Chief Rob Gabrielse on May 19.
The GONL remains firm, however, in its determination to lead
a PRT in Baghlan. Following discussions with his German
counterpart on May 17, Minister of Defense Kamp publicly
announced that the Dutch will go to Baghlan and that this
would be the only PRT the Netherlands would lead. MFA
sources claim Struck "agreed with the Netherlands going to
Baghlan." MFA contacts advise that the Germans are viewed as
trusted partners by the Dutch parliament, which will
facilitate the GONL's efforts to gain parliamentary support.
Contacts also noted that PM Balkenende and Chancellor
Schroeder agreed in April to pursue Dutch-German cooperation
in Afghanistan.



2. (C) Comment: There are strong domestic political
arguments behind the Dutch preference for Baghlan. As noted
ref B, the GONL is currently preoccupied with renewing the
deployment of its approximately 1300 troops (whose regularly
scheduled six month rotation is set to expire July 15) in
Iraq. This is not yet a done deal, and some members of the
governing coalition have expressed public doubts about the
wisdom of an extension. Dutch governments always prefer to
make military deployments backed by the broadest possible
political consensus. Given that the Iraq decision may well
be divisive, the Balkenende government would prefer to make
the PRT case as non-controversial as possible. In addition
to the political advantages of working in proximity to the
German operation in Konduz, the Dutch are, as always, focused
on having very clearly defined medevac and in extremis
support arrangements (a legacy of their 1995 fiasco in
Srebrenica). MFA sources note that the fact that the Dutch
Apache helicopters currently flying ISAF support out of Kabul
could also reach Baghlan would be useful in parliamentary
debate. In view of these factors, a deployment to Baghlan,
between Kabul and the German-led PRT in Konduz, would be a
much easier sell for the GONL in parliament. End comment.
RUSSEL