Afghans petition the Dutch to stay

(RNW) March 26, 2010 – Afghans in the Uruzgan province have asked the Dutch not to leave their province by presenting them with a petition. In a document given to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the Afghans praise the Dutch for building and restoring “bridges, schools and medical centers”.  As far as RNW knows, this is the first time Afghans have used this way of asking foreign troops to stay.

According to tribal leaders and commanders who signed the letter, “the Dutch have a strong relationship of trust with the population of Uruzgan, which has resulted in “sustained security”. The leaders ended their petition with an appeal for Dutch parliamentarians to reconsider their decision to leave Uruzgan. In February, the Dutch cabinet fell over the Uruzgan issue. The political parties were divided on whether to continue the NATO mission in Uruzgan. In August Dutch troops will start leaving the province, which lies between Helmand and Kandahar.

The petition was handed over to a delegation from the military base Camp Holland, during a traditional shura (meeting) with 100 to 150 Afghans. The people who wrote this `protest letter’ were local Afghans, who asked district leader Daoud Khan to take the lead. It was signed by several leaders from Tarin Kowt, Deh Rawod, Chora and Gizab.

Read more below the fold … Taliban praise for Dutch Labor Party

An independent employee of an NGO in Uruzgan was asked by Radio Netherlands Worldwide to review the petition and give his view on the importance of this document. According to him, it is “good news” amd “important leaders from Uruzgan have decided to sign this”. The document was signed by prominent Barakzai-leaders, but also other tribes are also represented.

Jan Mohammed and flourishing opium business

But members of the prominent Popalzai-tribe have not joined the initative. They weren’t at the shura. Popalzai tribesmen are strongly linked to President Hamid Karzai and to the former governor of Uruzgan Jan Mohammed who was sacked by the Dutch because of corruption and for excluding other tribes. This Popolzai-leader’s network never supported the Dutch presence in Uruzgan.

The Dutch didn’t sent the head of their mission, but lower diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended the meeting. According to the Ministry of Defence, the Dutch weren’t told this would happen in Tarin Kowt.

“Otherwise, we would have sent a higher delegation of course,”  they said.

The text of the petition:

    Appeal to the elected Representatives of the Dutch People

    We Elders, Maleks and Commanders of tribes from the districts Tarin Kowt, Chora, Dehra Wood and Gizab in Uruzgan with firm faith in God Almighty and believing in the sacred religion of Islam appeal on behalf of the people of Uruzgan to the representatives of the Dutch people.

    Cause of our appeal is the discussion of the Netherlands for extending the military contribution to ISAF Mission in Afghanistan.

    We fear that a withdrawal of Dutch soldiers from Uruzgan lasting significant negative consequences for until now the very successful process of social and economic development of the Province of Uruzgan.

    Roads, bridges, schools, health centre and administration building have been built and restored. Programs for drinking water supply, irrigation, water reservoirs and electricity supply were realized. Many development programs for farmers and for improving family income have been implemented. 70% of families in Uruzgan have directly benefited from the Dutch economic aid to developing Uruzgan. Visible consequence of agricultural support is for example the significant decline in poppy cultivation in Uruzgan.

    The economic and social progress would not have been achieved without military protection of the environment by the Dutch PRT. Afghan security forces are not yet capable for ensuring security and stability in Uruzgan alone by themselves. Therefore the civilian targets in Uruzgan cannot be accomplished in the next years without military security provided by the coalition of Netherlands, USA, Australians, ANA and ANP. However, without attaining civilian targets, there will be no security in Uruzgan. In the security network of Uruzgan the Netherlands are essential for Uruzgan because the Dutch ISAF Contingent have developed a strong relation of trust to the population of Uruzgan and without such a relation creating sustain security is not possible in Afghanistan.

    We will make our contribution to a secure environment by for example fighting poppy cultivation, corruption and violence of human rights. However, alone we cannot do much in the current situation against violent criminal groups of insurgents.

    The Shura knows that the mission for the Dutch troops in Uruzgan was dangerous and it will remain. With sadness and respect, we will always keep the memory of fallen soldiers.

    With sorrow we think of the death of Afghan people and the fallen great tribe leader Rozi Khan.

    Their death should not be for nothing.

    We appeal to the elected representatives of the Dutch population, do not leave Uruzgan in the middle of the process of Province Building and please vote for a temporary extension of the ISAF Mission in Uruzgan in the interest of peace in Uruzgan, Afghanistan and throughout the region.

    This appeal has been formulated and signed by the participants of the Shura which was held in Sarshakhli Tarin Kowt.

Tribal powers shift as Dutch leave Uruzgan

The Dutch are not the only ones leaving the Afghan province Uruzgan. Its governor Asadullah Hamdam is waiting for his dismissal.

Asadullah Hamdam, the governor of Uruzgan, has been waiting in his house in Kabul for Afghan president Hamid Karzai to find the time to officially dismiss him. In a phone interview, Hamdam said there is no doubt he will be fired. “The minister of local governance has let me know Karzai wants change in Uruzgan and I will have to stay in Kabul.”

Hamdam is not the only one who will leave the southern province. Before the end of this year, the 1,600 Dutch troops stationed there will be withdrawn, following last month’s collapse of the Dutch government over the decision regarding a possible extension of its Nato mission there.

Uruzgan governor Hamdam sacked

The Taliban hopes Dutch Labor Party will be part of new cabinet

(De Volkskrant/DutchNews.nl) – The funamentalist Islamic Taliban in Afghanistan has congratulated the Netherlands for pulling its soldiers out of the country, the Volkskrant reports today.

‘We would like to wish the citizens and government of the Netherlands all the best for having the courage to take this decision independently,’ an official Taliban spokesman told the newspaper in a telephone conversation via an interpreter.

‘We hope other countries with soldiers stationed in Afghanistan will follow the Dutch example and withdraw their troops,’ spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadii said.


And, he said, he hoped the Labour party would be part of the next Dutch government so it would have more Afghan friendly policies.

Labour’s refusal to agree to an extension of the Dutch military mission in the southern province of Uruzgan led to the government’s collapse in February.

The Dutch mission, which began in summer 2006, officially ends on August 1.

US troops will replace the Dutch forces and take over command of Uruzgan province.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

0 0 votes
Article Rating