Dutch success in Afghan conflict

Dutch 'success' in Afghan conflict

By Damian Grammaticas
BBC News, Kabul

Parked on the tarmac at Kabul airport was the gleaming, freshly-painted Antonov plane. We climbed aboard the first ever commercial flight to Uruzgan.

Inside we had a choice of seats. We were the only passengers on the Kam Air flight to Tirin Kot.

Flying above the vast, rugged expanse of southern Afghanistan, snow-capped peaks, barren mountains and fertile, green valleys, the journey took us into the heart of former Taliban territory.

The new air service to Uruzgan is one sign of the small but surprising progress being made by the Dutch who are in charge of international forces in the province.

Uruzgan is a bright spot in an otherwise depressing region for America and its allies.

Almost everywhere else in southern Afghanistan insurgent attacks have risen rapidly.

'Unique approach'

In Uruzgan attacks are falling, and areas under Taliban control are shrinking.

The Dutch say this progress is, in part, down to their unique approach.

More at


Is it how squaddies on the ground see things or is this just window-dressing ?
The Dutch Soldiers Union is complaining that the ground based jamming devices are making them sick. Story here.

Not really sure what they want or expect the government to do. If they take the CREW system off, then the same union would probably protest that the soldiers are being endangered, which they would be. Since there isn’t an alternative piece of kit available and the lab testing said it was safe, what’s the answer?


Book Reviewer
FSJ is about right. The locals in Uruzgan know that, if they want a fight, they just have to nip down the road to Helmand. Why crap on your own doorstep?

It is a pretty complicated place, though. For instance, although a tiny bit in the centre of the Province may be 'peaceful', the vast majority of it is certainly not (sound familiar?). The Karzai government have done more to indirectly help the Taliban in Uruzgan than in most other provinces - read the recent article my Matthew Parris in the Times for more info:

So the Dutch are laying the PR groundwork for their planned withdrawal, but the Aussies are staying there, and more Yanks are arriving. The Cloggies cannot be seen at home to be running away, so they are bigging-up their 'success' in the central areas.

To be fair, they never thought they'd signed on for a shooting war - and they've more than done their bit. Plus their politicians had the balls to specify a withdrawal date (as have the Canadians).

These withdrawals will leave all serious fighting in Afghanistan down to the US and the UK.
The Dutch coalition government fell overnight over the question of remaining in Afghanistan in support of NATO.
Story Here

Another story mentioned the possibility that the NL F-16 group might stay even if the ground forces pulled out.

Similar threads

Latest Threads