The Netherlands' coalition government collapsed this past weekend over disagreement about its role in Afghanistan. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's office said in a statement that the Labor Party had withdrawn from the government following days of talks over whether the troops should be brought home.
Robert Marquand of the Christian Science Monitor writes that the development “threatens to undermine the NATO mission in the central Asian nation.”
“The Dutch collapse brings concern of a domino effect: Can European leaders, who have been out in front of their publics on Afghanistan, continue anteing up – or will this withdrawal further sap a flagging political will across Europe for the mission?” Marquand writes.
With a loud "whoosh" and a blast of hot air, the pile of tires, wood and 2.5 tons of raw opium burst into flames.
It's a government-sponsored "drug burn" in the western Afghan city of Herat, an event intended to reinforce the government’s claim that it is moving aggressively against the opium trade.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has expressed regret after a NATO airstrike killed more than two dozen civilians. Ground forces at the scene found women and children among the casualties, the Afghan government and NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a joint statement. FULL STORY