Taliban `congratulate` Dutch on Afghanistan pull-out: Report

The Taliban have congratulated the Netherlands` government for the upcoming pull-out of their troops from Afghanistan, according to a newspaper interview with a spokesman from the group.

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2010, 19:03 PM IST

The Hague: The Taliban have congratulated
the Netherlands` government for the upcoming pull-out of their
troops from Afghanistan, according to a newspaper interview
with a spokesman from the group.

"We want to wholeheartedly congratulate the citizens
and government of the Netherlands for having the courage they
have had to take this independent decision," Qari Yusuf
Ahmadij told Dutch daily Volkskrant.
"We hope that other countries with troops stationed in
Afghanistan will follow the Netherlands example and withdraw
their troops," said Ahmadij, who was described as the
Taliban`s spokesman for west and south Afghanistan.

The deployment of about 1,950 Dutch troops in
Afghanistan ends on Sunday after four years on Sunday amid
concerns about the void it will leave.

NATO had asked the Netherlands to extend the
mission, which started in 2006 and has cost the lives of 24
soldiers, by a year to August 2011.

This sparked a political row that led to the
government collapsing in February and the end of the Dutch
deployment.
The Labour party, which was part of the governing
coalition at the time and was against extending the mission,
"took one of the most important decisions ever taken by the
Dutch government and its citizens," Ahmadij said.

"Once again we call on European countries that have
soldiers in Afghanistan to leave the country. Because it is
not your war, but a war of the United States, which aims to
reach their imperialistic objectives in the world and
especially in this region," he said.

PTI