Ending the impasse

DUTCH Ambassador to Pakistan Joost Riejntjes has said that the Dutch forces in Afghanistan will return home this year, and are presently engaged in development work. He said this during a meeting with the Editor-in-Chief of the Nawa-i-Waqt Group, and of this newspaper, Mr Majid Nizami, at his office on Thursday. The Ambassador will obviously try to place a positive interpretation upon the impending withdrawal of the Dutch, who are in Afghanistan as part of the NATO force there, but the fact of the matter is that the withdrawal is taking place because the Afghan people have resisted this invasion as determinedly as they have previous foreign invasions. There is also an element of war weariness as has been shown by a recent survey in Europe which shows the masses as being against the war, as it seems that Europeans do not see why their soldiers should go on dying in a war that their country only joined, and that through NATO, because its assistance was invoked by the USA, which imposed the war on that country along with its puppet regime. The Netherlands alone has had 21 soldiers killed to date in Afghanistan, as opposed to only two in Iraq, and thus has the right motives for getting out. The USA has also reported that the troops need more mental health care providers. Though the survey was only of US troops, there is every reason to assume that the Dutch troops in Afghanistan have the same problems. As the Netherlands has done, more European countries need to realise that their blind following of the USA in the interest of NATO solidarity has merely led to their forces being stuck in a quagmire, and withdrawal from Afghanistan is the only way out of that mess. Even the USA would probably realise that its continued occupation of the country, while merely spawning further resistance there, was also unpopular in other countries. As a result, the USA might be persuaded to withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of schedule, and thus bring to an end the human suffering there all the sooner.

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