DUTCH TROOPS TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN
The Netherlands (Holland) will end its military involvement in Afghanistan, on 08/01/2010, after four years in which its 1,950 troops have won praise for their effectiveness. The Dutch government has collapsed, on Saturday 02/20/2010, after the two largest parties failed to agree on whether to withdraw Dutch troops from Afghanistan, as had been planned (see – EU 02.20.10). Canada’s military mandate in the country is also set to end in 2011 (see – Kandahar 03.20.09).
Dutch military chief Gen Peter van Uhm said they had seen security improve significantly in Uruzgan province. But he acknowledged that “a lot still has to happen” after their withdrawal.
Although NATO-ISAF has played down the significance, but analysts say it is a sensitive time for the alliance, with growing casualties and doubts about strategy. More than 145,000 foreign troops currently operate under US and NATO command in Afghanistan and are supporting its Western-backed government against a Taliban-led insurgency that has gained strength.
The Dutch military command in Uruzgan will be formally handed over to the USA and Australia, on Sunday 08/01/2010, when the country ends its commitment.
Dutch contingent has pioneered techniques in the difficult southern province which have since been held up as a model for other foreign forces in Afghanistan. These include the “3D” policy – defence, diplomacy and development – which involved fighting the Taliban while at the same time building close contacts with local tribal elders and setting up development programmes.
More than 145,000 foreign troops currently operate under US and NATO command in Afghanistan and are supporting its Western-backed government against a Taliban-led insurgency that has gained strength.
Gen Van Uhm said 24 Dutch troops died during the mission and 140 were wounded. His own son was killed by a roadside bomb in 04/2008.
A Taliban spokesman told the Volksrant newspaper that the group wanted to “wholeheartedly congratulate the citizens and government of the Netherlands” for pulling its troops out and urged others to follow suit.
06/2010 -PETRAEUS’S MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN
07/2009 -EUROPE HAD ENOUGH