Dutch to send troops to Afghanistan

The Dutch parliament is to vote on a controversial government plan to send troops to southern Afghanistan. After weeks of political wrangling, the Dutch parliament appears set to approve the government's proposal on Thursday.

Nato, the United Nations and Washington have stepped up pressure on the Netherlands to send the extra troops to bolster peacekeeping work. But there are still some doubts among government and opposition MPs which could influence the vote in parliament.

The participation of up to 1,400 Dutch troops appears more likely since the leading opposition Labour Party expressed its support on Wednesday. But as the party said it would not make a formal decision until after the debate, the outcome is still far from certain.

MPs from the junior coalition party, D66, will vote against the mission to southern Afghanistan. Support from Labour would mean a broad majority in favour. Still, some government and opposition MPs are seeking extra assurances that Dutch troops will work independently from the American operation, Enduring Freedom, reports BBC news. I.L.

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