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Holland lends weight to Afghanistan peace efforts

Holland lends weight to Afghanistan peace efforts

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On
Aug 02, 2017 - 15:08

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Dutch ambassador on Wednesday affirmed support from the Netherlands for Afghan peace and stability initiatives, saying the international community wanted Afghan parties to work together to end the conflict.

Ambassador Geoffrey Van Leeuwen told a news conference in Kabul that Holland remained firmly committed to long-term cooperation with Afghanistaninfo-icon within the framework of NATOinfo-icon.

He noted Afghanistan, despite facing multiple challenges had made remarkable progress over the last 15 years in the fields of educationinfo-icon, healthinfo-icon and the freedom of expression.

His country would advise and assist Afghan security forces and remain in Afghanistan as long as needed. Currently, about one hundred Dutch soldiers in Balkh province and elsewhere in the north are advising and training Afghan security and defense forces.

Last year, the diplomat recalled, his country had pledged $300 million to Afghanistan. Over the past 15 years, based on his information, Holland has provided more than $2 billion to Afghanistan in aid.

He said Holland’s current financial assistance is provided through the International Monetary Fund and the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) to finance army and police salaries.

He regretted the attack on the Iraq embassy, saying he special forces moved swiftly to thwart the assailants. The Daesh-claimed assault left two Afghan employees of the embassy dead and a third injured. All four attackers were killed.

Under pressure from the international coalition in Iraq and Syria, Daesh had resorted to heavy attacks in Afghanistan. The embassy attack could be in reaction, the ambassador believed.

If such an incident had happened four years ago, the foreign forces would have supported their Afghan partners in eliminating the attackers. But Monday’s attack was handled independently by the Afghan forces who skillfully rescued Iraqi diplomats, he acknowledged.

The envoy said there were rumours before 2013 that Afghanistan would fall to the militants if its security was handed over to local forces. But that speculation proved wrong and the Afghan forces were capable of dealing with tough situations, he added.

About the political landscape, he said it was an internal issue of Afghanistan but his country was watching the situation. He added Holland supported peace efforts of the Afghan government as well as the upcoming parliamentary elections.

sa/mds/mud

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