THE HAGUE, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch government decided on Friday to end the Dutch military mission in Mali in 2019, and to lengthen its contribution to the NATO mission in Afghanistan until the end of 2021.
The Netherlands has been involved in the United Nations (UN) mission "MINUSMA" in Mali since 2014. The mission came to an end on May 1, 2019 with the last of the current 240 Dutch soldiers returning home.
The announcement comes as no surprise, as two days ago, a Netherlands court published a report about the Dutch involvement in the UN's MINUSMA mission. According to the report, the mission has too many negative repercussions for the rest of the Dutch military, in terms of the demand for material and manpower.
"Years of cutbacks, combined with increasing international pressure and responsibilities, have taken their toll on the armed forces," the Dutch government stated in a press statement. "It goes without saying that the armed forces can only be deployed if doing so is a responsible course of action. The recently published report reaffirmed the importance of this. The conclusions were explicit factors in the decisions concerning the various missions."
The Dutch government is now setting new priorities, putting more focus on NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, partly at the request of NATO and Afghanistan. In addition to the 100 military personnel currently deployed, another 60 military personnel will work closely with Germany over the next few years to train, advise, assist and accompany a unit of the Afghan Special Security Forces in Mazar-e Sharif. Six police advisers will be attached to the NATO mission in Kabul.
Lastly, the Netherlands also intends to extend its contribution to NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania to the end of 2020. Just like in Afghanistan, the Netherlands opted to extend this contribution to provide more military continuity.