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Viewing cable 09USNATO563, RFG: HOW TO KEEP THE DUTCH IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09USNATO563 2009-12-03 15:03 2011-01-20 08:08 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Mission USNATO
VZCZCXRO6689
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHNO #0563/01 3371538
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 031538Z DEC 09
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3682
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0735
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 1310
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/USNMR SHAPE BE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USDELMC BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 USNATO 000563 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/03/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS MARR MCAP NATO AF
SUBJECT: RFG: HOW TO KEEP THE DUTCH IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN 

Classified By: Ambassador Ivo Daalder for reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d). 

1. (C/NF) This is a request for guidance by OOB Brussels time 
on December 4. See para 7. 

2. (C/NF) SUMMARY. On December 2, the U.S. Ambassador and 
NATO Secretary General (SYG) Rasmussen received a demarche 
from The Dutch PermRep to NATO, Frank Majoor, requesting 
options The Hague could pursue to keep a Dutch presence in 
southern Afghanistan. Majoor said that The Hague would make 
a decision on its future role in Afghanistan on December 7 
and sought ideas that he could present to The Hague as 
possible alternatives to a Dutch withdrawal from Uruzgan. 
According to Majoor, Dutch senior leadership was interested 
in maintaining a military presence as part of NATO's 
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in 
southern Afghanistan, but the option to stay in Uruzgan was 
virtually off the table. He described the political 
situation on this issue as increasingly complicated and hotly 
debated in The Hague. The NATO SYG thought that a reduction 
of a Dutch presence in Uruzgan would counterbalance years of 
efforts it undertook to build good relations with local 
officials and acquire an understanding of the local 
situation. END SUMMARY. 

Uruzgan Is Not An Option 
------------------------- 

3. (C/NF) The Dutch PermRep Majoor told the U.S. Ambassador 
and NATO SYG Rasmussen, in separate discussions, that senior 
Dutch leadership would soon make a decision not to continue 
as the lead nation in Uruzgan province and continuation of a 
Dutch role in any capacity in the province was seemingly 
remote. Majoor also said that the continuation of the Dutch 
Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and its development 
activities in the province were increasingly unlikely. 

But...We'd Like To Stay In The South 
-------------------------- 

4. (C/NF) Majoor said, in light of the pending withdrawal, 
The Hague was still interested in continuing a military 
presence in southern Afghanistan. He sought ideas to find a 
coherent military solution to an imminent decision to 
withdraw and asked Daalder and Rasmussen what else the Dutch 
could do in southern Afghanistan to continue as part of the 
ISAF mission. Majoor noted that the Dutch Chief of Defense 
would consult with SACEUR directly on this same question. 
According to Majoor, if non-Uruzgan options were identified, 
it might be possible to garner support and incorporate them 
into Dutch senior level discussions. Majoor said that Dutch 
senior leadership would meet on December 7 to debate its 
future role in Afghanistan. 

The NATO SYG Takes A Tough Line 
--------------------------- 

5. (C/NF) The NATO SYG responded to the Dutch PermRep with a 
stern message for The Netherlands to stay and continue as the 
lead nation in Uruzgan province. Rasmussen said he was 
investing lots of time and effort encouraging nations to 
increase their military and financial contributions in 
Afghanistan. In his view, he was asking many countries to 
make difficult decisions and found it contrary to his efforts 
to help the Dutch, simultaneously, reduce its forces. The 
NATO SYG thought that a reduction of a Dutch presence in 
Uruzgan would counterbalance years of efforts it undertook to 
build good relations with local officials and acquire an 
understanding of the local situation. Separately, the SYG 
told us he was content to let the Dutch continue to feel the 
political pressure from Allies than offer an exit strategy 
too early. The SYG also informed the Ambassador that he 
would call Prime Minister Balkenende to deliver a stern 
message directly. 

Will The U.S. Lead When We Leave? 
---------------------------- 

6. (C/NF) Majoor asked Ambassador Daalder if the U.S. would 
volunteer as the lead nation in Uruzgan after the Dutch 

USNATO 00000563 002 OF 002 


stepped down. Additionally, Majoor asked the U.S. to 
consider providing force protection to civilian elements of 
its PRT, if The Hague decided to continue Dutch development 
efforts in Uruzgan province. Ambassador Daalder promised to 
refer the questions to Washington in order to get an answer 
before the December 7 meeting in The Hague. 

Request For Guidance 
---------------------- 

7. (C/NF) Request for Guidance: Mission requests guidance 
for use with the Dutch senior leadership on the following 
questions: 

-- Will the U.S. volunteer to be the lead nation in Uruzgan 
province after the Dutch step down from the role? 

-- Would the U.S. provide force protection to Dutch civilian 
PRT elements allowed to remain in Uruzgan after a drawdown of 
Dutch military forces in the province? 

-- Is there a coherent, military role the Dutch could play 
within its available capacity outside of Uruzgan? 

DAALDER