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Netherlands to send peacekeepers, helicopters to Mali

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands said on Friday it would send combat helicopters and around 380 troops to boost a U.N.-led peacekeeping mission trying to stabilize Mali after a coup and an Islamist incursion. The U.N. force is supposed to take over from an African mission, and French forces who intervened in Mali in January to drive out al Qaeda-linked militants who Paris feared could mount attacks in the region and beyond.

Dutch to send 380 troops to Mali

The Netherlands will send 380 soldiers and four Apache attack helicopters to war-torn Mali following an appeal for more UN peacekeepers, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday. The announcement comes after an urgent request by the UN's special representative in the west African country for more blue helmets as its peacekeeping force faces a new surge of Islamist attacks. "The Netherlands has decided to answer the UN's call," Rutte told journalists at his weekly press briefing following a cabinet meeting.

Dutch police trainers to quit Afghanistan earlier: Rutte

Dutch military trainers will withdraw earlier than planned from their mission in war-torn Afghanistan's Kunduz province, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced Friday, saying local forces were ready to take over. "We have decided to end the training mission on July 1," Rutte told journalists at his weekly post-cabinet press conference. "The Afghans are ready sooner than planned to take responsibility for police training in Kunduz," he said.
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