Foreign minister Koenders’ response to the liberation of Tal Afar in Iraq
‘The surprisingly quick liberation of Tal Afar is yet another positive result of the international fight against ISIS. I have the highest regard for the Iraqi army, which has again carried out a difficult mission with great courage. My thoughts are with the residents of Tal Afar, who have suffered greatly over the past few years.
‘The Iraqis who live in the liberated areas now need our support for reconstruction, reconciliation and trauma counselling. The Netherlands supports various projects in these areas.
‘But we have to stay realistic: this is not the end of the military conflict. ISIS still controls a number of areas in Iraq which will not be easy to recapture. It also has a significant presence in Syria, where the situation is far more complex.
‘And a military victory is only the beginning. Without stabilisation, security and inclusive governance in the liberated areas, there will still be a breeding ground there for ISIS, and there can be no lasting victory.
‘Finally, it is crucial that all the coalition forces always respect international humanitarian law and safeguard human rights.’