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Zaterdag, 15 Januari 2011 | Bewerkt door Crethi Plethi

WikiLeaks: Nederland Geloofde niet in een Stabiel en Democratisch Afghanistan

Document: Ambstbericht van de Amerikaanse ambassade in Den Haag over de Nederlandse aanwezigheid in Uruzgan na 2010. In een gesprek van PvdA, CDA en VVD met een directeur van State Department noemt VVD-er Han ten Broeke het “voor alle partijen zelfmoord om het mandaat te verlengen”. Hij geeft aan “dat het niet betekent dat we niet elders aanwezig zouden kunnen zijn”. PVDA Kamerlid Samira Bouchibti knikt volgens de Amerikanen instemmend. Aan het eind staan in hoofdletters zg. Talking Points over hoe de Nederlanders te prijzen om hun inzet.

Bron: WikiLeaks/NOS

191568,2/11/2009 14:57,09THEHAGUE92,
“Embassy The Hague”,

DE RUEHTC #0092/01 0421457
O 111457Z FEB 09
“,”S E C R E T THE HAGUE 000092


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2019
REF: A. 07 THE HAGUE 2025
B. 08 THE HAGUE 0728
C. 09 THE HAGUE 0078

Classified By: Political-Economic Counselor Andrew Mann for reasons

1. (S) SUMMARY: Dutch plans for Afghanistan post-2010 are
evolving. Many in Parliament and the public think the Dutch
should withdraw completely in 2010 since their forces have
been on the ground with the U.S. since December 2001.
Despite confidence in their own efforts, the Dutch perceive
there is no winnable game plan for creating a stable
democratic Afghanistan. Nonetheless, current indications
from the government suggest the Netherlands may consider a
request for some sort of follow-on mission after 2010.
Getting to that “”yes”” will take extended, coordinated and
discreet engagement by all concerned. END SUMMARY.

Uncertainty about Dutch Deployment

2. (S) In December 2007, the Dutch Parliament agreed to
extend its ISAF mission in Uruzgan for two years – until
August 2010, followed by a complete withdrawal of Dutch
troops under Task Force Uruzgan by December 2010. In private
conversations, senior government officials have emphasized
that the Dutch will stay on in some capacity in Afghanistan.
Official public statements, however, are less
forward-leaning. Foreign Minister Verhagen said during an
appearance in Parliament on November 19, “”the Netherlands is
lead nation, in Uruzgan until August 2010 and will then
cut down its presence and leave by December 2010.”” He added
that the development relationship will continue for years,
but he would not make any observations about military
contributions after December 2010. At the same hearing,
Defense Minister van Middelkoop stated the Dutch “”do not have
the capabilities to sustain lead operations over several
years.”” During a December visit to Afghanistan, he said the
Dutch were getting out of Afghanistan, even if incoming U.S.
President Obama called him 10 times to stay. Prime Minister
Balkenende later repudiated van Middelkoop,s remarks,
stating a request by the new administration would be given
careful consideration. The PM cautioned, however, “”A mission
with as many troops as currently in Uruzgan is going to be
difficult.”” During his trip to Uruzgan on February 9, the PM
further stated “”We have always said that we will terminate
the leading role of the Netherlands in Uruzgan by 2010. But
that does not mean that we will turn our back on Afghanistan.
At least we will take responsibility after 2010 in the area
of development cooperation and strengthening the

3. (C) In conversations with EUR/WE Director Pamela Spratlen
January 15, Dutch MPs from the leading parties that supported
the Afghanistan deployment in 2007 — Labor (PvdA), Christian
Democrats (CDA), and Liberals (VVD) — told Spratlen the
Dutch military needs a break from the Afghanistan deployment.
“”It would be suicide for parties at this table”” to extend
the Dutch mandate in Uruzgan beyond 2010, according to VVD
member Han Ten Broeke, though this “”doesn’t mean we couldn’t
be somewhere else… We made a promise to conclude in 2010.””
CDA Defense spokesman Raymond Knops said it is “”possible the
Dutch may contribute again in 2013 (after a two-year
QDutch may contribute again in 2013 (after a two-year
break)… We need some rest.”” PvdA member Samira Bouchibti
nodded at these comments, adding, “”we have to explain to the
Dutch people why this matters.””

4. (SBU) Public support for the mission in Afghanistan is
tracked monthly by the Ministry of Defense with the long term
trend being basically stable (approximately 35-41% in favor,
30-37% opposed and 23-27% undecided). Recent short term
trends have been somewhat negative with January support at
30%; April 2008 at 25% was the lowest. A consistent majority
expresses pride in the Dutch troops in Uruzgan (60% in
January), but public interest in Afghanistan is diminishing.

Decision process

5. (S) The initial, informal and unofficial process of
deciding what to do after 2010 has begun at the senior levels
in the Ministries. A meeting of the “”Gang of Six””
(Balkenende (CDA), Verhagen (CDA), Deputy Prime
Minister/Minister of Finance Bos (PvdA), Minister for
Development Cooperation Koenders (PvdA), Deputy Prime
Minister/Minister for Youth and Family Rouvet (Christian
Union – CU), and van Middelkoop (CU)) to discuss post-2010
Afghanistan options was scheduled for January 29. It was
postponed and has not yet been rescheduled. Following a
request for post-2010 involvement (from NATO or the Afghan
government), the Foreign Ministry will notify Parliament and
with the Defense Ministry and Development Cooperation draw up
a plan of engagement. The Cabinet will review and approve
the plan, likely in the fall of 2009. The Cabinet will then
send a letter to Parliament formally notifying it of the
government’s intent, initiating parliamentary review and
debate (likely in late 2009 or early 2010). The decision
will, as in 2007, follow an exhaustive review of key options
including total withdrawal, reduction of contributions,
reformation of forces, and repositioning of forces as well as
testimony by outside experts. Dr. Henk Ormel, Chair of the
Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, told a
university audience Feb. 10 that the wording of the 2007
mandate to leave Uruzgan left plenty of room for a future
role in Afghanistan. He believes there will be a “”serious
national discussion”” in late 2009 on the appropriate role for
the Dutch focusing on defense, diplomacy and, especially,
development (the 3D approach).


6. (S) Robert de Groot, MFA Deputy Director General for
Political Affairs and the Ministry’s point person on
Afghanistan, counseled the POL/ECON Counselor in December
2008 not to view any one official’s comments in isolation.
He suggested we balance the Defense Minister’s concern about
an exhausted military with the Foreign Minister’s call for
greater resources for the military. He explained the
government told Parliament during the 2007 debate the
Netherlands would stop being the lead nation for Task Force
Uruzgan in 2010, “”that is all we promised.”” Nevertheless, de
Groot said, before agreeing to a follow-on mission, the Dutch
would be influenced by:

– CENTCOM Gen. Petreaus’s expected review of Afghan strategy;
– The U.S. overall plan for stabilizing Afghanistan (perhaps,
de Groot mused, we need a “”new platform – a post-ISAF Phase
III”” for the south);
– Canada’s plans (since de Groot characterized its
government’s announcement pulling out of Afghanistan in 2010
as more categorical than the Dutch position);
– The capacity of the Dutch military;
– The new administration’s/NATO’s request of allies (de Groot
thought very few allies had the capabilities to contribute
more, in a meaningful way, in Afghanistan);
– The ability of the Afghans to sustain development efforts;
– The willingness of the central government in Kabul to
address governance issues (e.g., corruption).

Declining Military Capabilities?

7. (S) The Dutch were one of our first partners in
Afghanistan, contributing a Special Forces Task Group,
infantry troops and staff officers to ISAF in December 2001.
Qinfantry troops and staff officers to ISAF in December 2001.
Since then, they have served as co-lead of ISAF headquarters
(Feb.-Aug. 2003), lead at PRT Pol-e-Khumri (Baglan Province
2004-2006), command of Regional Command-South (Nov. 06-May
07; Nov. 08-present), and lead of PRT Tarin Kowt and Task
Force Uruzgan (Oct. 06-present) as well as contributing
F-16s, attack and transport helicopters, intelligence assets
and trainers. As recounted to visiting EUR/WE Office
Director Spratlen by the MFA, the Dutch military, a volunteer
force, is currently under strength (only 34,000 personnel out
of an authorized 41,000), and Afghanistan has taken its toll.
Yet, by August 2010, the Dutch military will be even more
experienced and heavily invested in the mission in
Afghanistan. While certain elements may have had “”all they
can handle,”” the Dutch will retain significant capabilities
to contribute to the overall ISAF mission in Afghanistan:
command and staff elements; Operational Mentoring and Liaison
Teams (OMLT); Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRT);
logistical support elements; limited battle group elements;
close air support assets; intelligence, surveillance,
targeting and reconnaissance (ISTAR) elements; and staff
billets. At the same time, other elements such as armored
engineers and helicopter transport may not be combat-ready
and, therefore, could limit the operations of the battle

Progress in Afghanistan Governance and Reconstruction
——————————————— ——–

8. (S) The greatest single threat to Dutch engagement is the
perception there is no coherent, winnable game plan for
creating a stable, democratic Afghanistan. Dutch confidence
in their military and civilian engagements at the local
levels in Uruzgan remains strong. The Dutch, however, are
frustrated by the “”bungling”” of the central government in
Kabul. The Dutch question their own involvement in an
international coalition that appears incapable or unwilling
to develop a legitimate, sustainable Afghan government.

Decision Makers

9. (S) As in 2007, the important players within the Cabinet
on this issue are Balkenende, Verhagen and, to a lesser
extent, van Middelkoop. Koenders, interested in Afghan
development and governance issues, will be key to convincing
Bos to give Labor/PvdA support in the Cabinet to any
post-2010 engagement plan. Parties of the left — D66, the
Socialist Party (SP), and Greenleft — will likely oppose any
continued involvement. The conservative Freedom Party (PVV)
and the VVD will need to be convinced that any decision is
clearly in the best interest of the Dutch. Although the
ruling coalition parties (CDA, PvdA and CU) control enough
votes in parliament to approve any Cabinet action, Dutch
political tradition requires more than a simple majority to
approve such an important action. The government will need
the support of additional parties.

Comment and First Steps

10. (S) Comment: Embassy The Hague believes the Dutch will
ultimately stay in Afghanistan for two primary reasons: to
complete the mission and maintain a seat at the table as a
“”responsible shareholder”” for international peace and
security. It is paramount the Dutch view any post-2010
engagement as partnering toward a viable Afghanistan solution
and not a continuation of a failing strategy (hence de
Groot’s desire for a “”post-ISAF Phase III”” plan). A strategy
that provides credible steps towards a central government
that is responsive to the citizenry and capable of providing
security will provide the Dutch with political cover to make
commitments post-2010. Any sense the government is a patsy
of the U.S. or that Afghanistan is descending into chaos will
not garner the necessary public or parliamentary support.

11. (S) Comment Cont,d: The Dutch see themselves as our
partners in Afghanistan and not mere supporters of U.S. goals
there. U.S. engagement, from working level contacts to
parliamentary and public outreach and high level contacts,
will be necessary to confirm to the Dutch they are a key
partner with influence whose consultations are meaningful and
have an impact. Our engagement must be discreet, sensitive
and timely. During the run-up to the December 2007 decision
to extend the Uruzgan deployment an extra two years, the
Qto extend the Uruzgan deployment an extra two years, the
Dutch did not want a heavy visible USG presence and privately
urged the U.S. to “”trust us”” on getting the extension. The
Dutch will want quiet but active consultations and
collaboration as a partner with the U.S. We have suggested
(reftel C) using important events for the NY400 celebration
as a reason for high level visitors to come to the
Netherlands in 2009, conduct public outreach and quietly
engage Dutch officials and parliamentarians on Afghanistan.
At the outset, there will be two critical efforts – ensuring
PvdA support within the Cabinet for any follow-on mission and
getting additional parties, support once a Cabinet plan is
submitted to Parliament. End comment.

12. (S) Getting to Yes: Dutch leaders will appreciate an
understanding of both their domestic politics and their
international contributions. Guidance from Washington on the
changing strategy in Afghanistan, including growing
deployments and expectations for Allies, will be essential.
Post has already convened an Afghanistan Working Group
involving POL, DAO and PD to develop a game plan for
engagement and monitor developments. Embassy The Hague will
continue to analyze and report on political developments in
the Netherlands and how those events affect prospects for the
Dutch post-2010 development. We will look for opportunities
for Washington leaders to engage Dutch decision-makers (e.g.,
having the USNATO ambassador as the guest of honor at
Dutch-American Friendship Day in April; inviting General
Petreaus to speak at the May 24 commemoration services at the
Netherlands-U.S. cemetery at Margraten; having Special
Representative Holbrooke visit Uruzgan and/or The Hague as he
reviews U.S. strategy for Afghanistan; arranging an early
meeting between Minister Koenders and the new USAID
Administrator and senior Department officials on development
issues). The upcoming meeting between the Secretary and FM
Verhagen is an excellent opportunity to lay out what we want
the Dutch to do post-2010 and how we can help get them to
that decision.

13. (SBU) The following talking points will be a “”living
document”” updated regularly for use with Dutch officials:

– WE VALUE OUR PARTNERSHIP: We are proud to be partners with
the Dutch in promoting a safe and secure Afghanistan and know
that you have consistently punched above your weight in
Afghanistan. (NOTE: The Dutch have been more involved in
Afghanistan than many in NATO that have more capabilities.
They were part of the initial ISAF forces and continue to
contribute vitally important enablers. END NOTE.)
– WE RECOGNIZE YOUR SACRIFICE: We are grateful for your work
and recognize your sacrifices in extended command in the
south and lead of Task Force Uruzgan. We know your
leadership has stretched your military capacity. (NOTE: The
Dutch made a difficult political decision to retain the lead
in Task Force Uruzgan in 2007 and extended their commitment
for two years as lead nation; Dutch Major
General de Kruif is the Commander of Regional Command South.
The Dutch have suffered 18 casualties in Uruzgan, including
the son of Chief of Defense General van Uhm. It has been
reported that as much as half of the military forces are
either in Afghanistan, preparing to go to Afghanistan, or in
a recovery mode from deployment at any one time. END NOTE.)
committed to a 3D approach in Afghanistan. Your leadership
in the use of development funds has been impressive in
improving the lives of Afghan citizens. (NOTE: The Dutch
have long been advocates of the 3D approach and strongly push
the development aspect in their efforts in Afghanistan.
Kathleen Ferrier, a skeptical CDA MP, actually used the three
words of democracy, defense and development to describe her
view of what is needed in Afghanistan. She and many in the
Dutch arena feel they actually initiated the concept. We can
use this language to build Dutch support. END NOTE.)
President Biden said in his Wehrkunde speech in Munich, we
are at a tenuous stage in Afghanistan, and we cannot afford
Qare at a tenuous stage in Afghanistan, and we cannot afford
to backslide. This makes every contribution from our Allies
all the more important. Adding to the urgency of the
situation are the upcoming Presidential elections in August;
we must all do everything in our power to head off potential
violence if the Taliban pull out all the stops to derail the
process, as we expect them to do. With this in mind, we plan
to significantly increase our efforts in Afghanistan and urge
Allies to join us in meeting the need for additional
diplomacy, development and defense assets. We are planning
on an extensive infusion of our forces as reinforcements, not
replacements for current forces from all troop contributing
nations already in Afghanistan. (NOTE: Some in the
Netherlands have begun to believe that with the significant
additional U.S. forces there is no longer a need for their
own forces in theater. END NOTE.)
experience in running successful PRTs and the irreplaceable
local knowledge you have gained in Uruzgan are of crucial
importance to ISAF. Additional U.S. capabilities in the
region may offer some relief to strained elements of your
military, but we all need to continue to work together in
Afghanistan to give a coordinated 3D approach time to work.


2 Comments to “WikiLeaks: Nederland Geloofde niet in een Stabiel en Democratisch Afghanistan”

  1. #WikiLeaks: #Nederland Geloofde niet in een Stabiel en #Democratisch #Afghanistan | #VS

  2. avatar Elisabeth says:

    RT @CrethiPlethi: #WikiLeaks: #Nederland Geloofde niet in een Stabiel en #Democratisch #Afghanistan | #VS


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