Afghanistan 'very risky for troops'

18th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — Doubt has been cast on whether the Netherlands will send 1,000 troops to the south of Afghanistan, sources in The Hague have claimed.

18 November 2005

AMSTERDAM — Doubt has been cast on whether the Netherlands will send 1,000 troops to the south of Afghanistan, sources in The Hague have claimed.

Dutch military intelligence agency (MIVD) has drawn up a report that warns Defence Minister Henk Kamp of serious risks should the mission in the southern province of Uruzgan proceed.

The Cabinet is to discuss the deployment on Friday and a final decision may be taken next week.

US casualties in Afghanistan this year have passed 90, while 52 died last year. The increase is mainly as a result of an increase in the fighting with the Taliban in the south of the country.

The biggest problem faced by Minister Kamp is that he is not in a position to send any Chinook heavy lift helicopters to Afghanistan due to a shortage of personnel. The Dutch copters are also due for major maintenance.

Attempts have been made to borrow helicopters from Australia but Canberra has decided its military cannot spare any. Dutch ministers are continuing talks with the US and Britain about cooperating in the south of Afghanistan.

An anonymous source close to the Cabinet told news agency ANP that the MIVD report has muddied the waters further as Kamp will not want to dismiss its assessment of the security situation lightly. "The big question is whether the major risks are manageable," the source said. A spokesperson for Minister Kamp declined to comment.

MPs in the Dutch Parliament are not very enthusiastic about sending troops to fight the Taliban, while other soldiers are part of the reconstruction and stabilisation mission (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

The Netherlands currently has 626 troops in Afghanistan: 378 attached to ISAF and 248 in Kandahar supporting the hunt for Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.

Meanwhile, two Dutch naval vessels, Hr.Ms. Amsterdam and Hr.Ms. De Zeven Provinciën, are to join the Combined Task Force 150 that patrols in the Indian Ocean as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The ships leave the Dutch naval base in Den Helder and will join a submarine already serving with the naval task force.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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