The Dutch prime minister announced that the Netherlands would be pulling out its military from Afghanistan, leaving NATO fearful that other nations would withdraw their troops as well. Jan Peter Balkenende announced, "Our task as the lead nation [in Uruzgan province] ends in August this year," despite the fact that NATO leader Andrew Fogh Rasmussen had publicly requested the Netherlands' continued presence. Since the Dutch declaration, some are concerned that other countries will follow, particularly Australia and Canada, which has the highest proportional casualty rate in Afghanistan. The Australian government has repeatedly refused to take on the lead role in Uruzgan without the presence of the Dutch and demands a large NATO power provide the lion's share of troops. U.S. troops will reportedly replace the Dutch forces since European nations are already struggling to gather the 10,000 extra troops U.S. General Stanley McChrystal requested to join America's extra 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. The Uruzgan governor told the BBC that the Dutch played a prominent role in Afghanistan. "If they withdraw and leave these projects incomplete, they will leave a big vacuum," he said.