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Netherlands Approves Afghan Police Training

Afghan police who were trained by British soldiers of NATO's International Security Assistance Force
In the Netherlands, the government has won the backing of a majority of lawmakers to send troops and police to northern Afghanistan to train police recruits.

To secure the support of smaller parties, the minority coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte promised the training in Kunduz province would be increased from six to 18 weeks to improve the quality of the program.

The government also added instruction on women's and children's rights as well as general human rights.

Plus, Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal had told lawmakers the government would get the Afghan government to promise that the police recruits trained by the Dutch would not be used in military operations.

Polls in the Netherlands show a majority of voters are opposed to the mission.

Last year, the Dutch government fell over whether to pull its troops out of Afghanistan, and within months Dutch forces were on their way home.

Twenty four Dutch soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, mostly in the dangerous south.

compiled from agency reports