Dutch military arrives for Afghan police training: spokesman
The first batch of Dutch police trainers arrived Wednesday in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, a defence spokesman said, some 10 months after Dutch troops withdrew from the conflict-torn nation.
"The group, consisting of about 100 military personnel left The Netherlands on Tuesday and arrived in Afghanistan today (Wednesday)," the spokesman, Jos van der Leij, told AFP.
The soldiers and police officers landed at a German air base in the restless province, Van der Leij said, and were the first group of soldiers and police to return to the country since a Dutch troop pull-out in August last year.
Around 1,950 Dutch troops were deployed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), mainly in the central Uruzgan province, for four years until the withdrawal in a mission that claimed the lives of 24 Dutch soldiers.
The troop withdrawal was sparked by a political row in The Netherlands in February last year over continued military deployment to the conflict-torn nation.
But Dutch lawmakers earlier this year endorsed a proposal to send 545 people to Afghanistan until 2014, including 225 police trainers in Kabul, Kunduz and Bamiyan, as well as military personnel providing medical and logistics support.
The Dutch have also deployed four F-16 fighter jets to find roadside bombs and boost security on the ground.
There are about 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan, mostly Americans, fighting an insurgency spearheaded by the Taliban, ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001.
© 2011 AFP