AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The Netherlands, which has been prevaricating for weeks about sending additional troops to Afghanistan, has been rebuked by former U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer III.
Dutch politicians have repeatedly postponed a final decision on whether to send 1,200 troops to southern Afghanistan's Uruzgan province later this year. Many of the country's 150 MPs are concerned that Uruzgan province remains too dangerous. Last Nov. 11 Afghan government personnel were killed in Uruzgan and two kidnapped by militants.
In an interview with Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant' Bremer said that while he understood Dutch concerns, a failure to send troops would raise questions in Washington about NATO's commitment if the mission doesn't go ahead. Bremer said, "What is NATO all about if our allies are not prepared to stand should-to-shoulder with us?"
Bremer added that while Europe wanted more international cooperation, "when the possibility emerges, people are side-stepping it. Time and time again decisions must be taken by the U.S. government, by Congress, that influence Dutch economic interests. It is not difficult to imagine decisions could be taken that would not be in the interests of the Netherlands."
During 1983-1986 Bremer was U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, after which he was appointed U.S. ambassador-at-large for Counter-terrorism. In 2003-2004 he was the director of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance for Iraq.