Army veteran who served in Afghanistan is named foreign minister in Netherlands' caretaker Cabinet

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Hanke Bruins Slot, a military veteran who served with the Dutch army in Afghanistan, was appointed Monday as the Netherlands' new foreign minister. She replaces Wopke Hoekstra, who is in line to become a European Union commissioner.

Bruins Slot had been interior minister in the caretaker administration of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte. His government will remain in power until a new coalition is formed after a Nov. 22 general election.

Polls suggest Bruins Slot's Christian Democrat Appeal party will suffer a heavy defeat in the fall election. The party put her forward early Monday to become the country's top diplomat. The government confirmed her appointment later in the day.

“As an Afghanistan veteran and the secretary of state in charge of (military) intelligence and security, Hanke is more than qualified to make this move to the Foreign Ministry,” Christian Democrat leader Henri Bontenbal said in a statement.

As foreign minister, Bruins Slot will be closely involved in the Netherlands' support for Ukraine. Another Christian Democrat, Hugo de Jonge, was appointed interior minister to replace Bruins Slot.

Hoekstra quit after the government nominated him to take up the Netherlands' seat on the EU's executive commission. He is expected to be appointed to replace the commission's climate czar, Frans Timmermans, who is returning to Dutch politics to lead a unified center left bloc of two parties in the election.