From the New York Times: After the collapse of its coalition cabinet, the Netherlands is set to withdraw its 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. That decision is an embarrassment to the Netherlands, to NATO, and to Washington at a moment when President Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy faces a crucial test.
NATO members should be looking for ways to add troops and military and police trainers in Afghanistan. The withdrawal will be a blow to the Afghan province of Oruzgan, where most of the Dutch troops have been stationed since 2006 and have earned a reputation as good fighters, sensitive to local needs and concerns…
We fear the Dutch decision could provide cover for wavering politicians elsewhere — Germany, for example, or Canada, which is now scheduled to pull out its troops at the end of 2011.
Europe’s leaders need to tell themselves — and their voters — the truth. The war in Afghanistan is not just about America’s security. It, too, is about denying sanctuaries to Al Qaeda, which has also carried out deadly terrorist attacks in Europe. NATO is stronger when it stands together. The Netherlands weakens itself and all of its allies by choosing to stand alone. (photo: David Guttenfelder/AP)