Dutch to send extra troops to Afghanistan
28 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government will deploy up to 160 extra personnel before September 2004 to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, it was confirmed on Monday as Nato chiefs met in the Turkish city Istanbul.
28 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government will deploy up to 160 extra personnel before September 2004 to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, it was confirmed on Monday as Nato chiefs met in the Turkish city Istanbul.
A Nato spokesman said the Netherlands is one of several countries that will deploy a provincial reconstruction team. A spokesman for Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende later confirmed the decision, news agency ANP reported.
Guarded by 23,000 police officers and soldiers, the leaders of the 26 Nato member states will meet for three-days in Istanbul and agreed on Monday that Nato should provide training to Iraqi's evolving security forces.
But Nato Secretary-General and former Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has in the past indicated that Afghanistan is also a top priority for Nato as it sought to expand its area of operations.
It was thus confirmed on Monday that between 120 and 160 Dutch service personnel — primarily members of the air force — will start operations on 1 September if the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer, gives the green light. The Dutch are expected to be stationed in the Afghan province Baghlan.
In total, an extra 3,500 Nato troops from various countries — to be spread between five teams — are being deployed in the central Asian country as Nato expands its security and reconstruction mission in Afghanistan.
The main task of the troops will be to help secure the Afghan elections, scheduled to occur in September this year.
About 6,500 Nato troops are presently involved in security operations in the capital Kabul and the city of Kunduz, alongside US troops involved in operation Enduring Freedom.
The Nato alliance had promised to expand its area of operations to the north and west of Afghanistan, but it has proven difficult in recent months to gather sufficient troop numbers.
The UK, Germany, Norway, Finland, Romania and Denmark will also be involved in the expansion of operations, which will see the Nato alliance involved in security operations across 190,000sq km of Afghanistan's total area of 647,500sq km.
The Netherlands has been involved in lengthy discussions with Nato about the intended location and circumstances that the Dutch troops will be confronted with.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news