The problem has been the Dutch intention to pull out of Afghanistan. The Dutch contribution to the war, around 1,950 troops, is larger than ours but the important point is that Australia cannot be a lead nation. Australia is not part of NATO, so NATO will not share intelligence with us, refuses to allow us to participate in discussions, and does not allow us to control their troops. Therefore, we need to work under a NATO country. Luxembourg would do but no NATO lead, no Australian contribution.
We lobbied hard about this, and it appeared that the Dutch had agreed to stay for another year. No one here thought that would be a big deal. Now the headlines read: Dutch government falls over Afghan mission, throwing everything into doubt.