Dutch parliament favors Afghanistan deployment

The Dutch parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly supported the deployment of up to 1,400 troops to southern Afghanistan, the premier said, reaffirming the country's central NATO role and ending more than a half year of political turmoil. No vote was held specifically to send the troops, but Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the end of a late night debate it was clear the deployment had widespread support. "The mission can go ahead. I will confirm that to the Cabinet tomorrow (Friday)," he said. The proposal to send the troops to the troubled Uruzgan province had run into vocal opposition, including from one of the three parties in the governing coalition.