Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dutch join NATO Afghanistan mission

After a lengthy debate in the Netherlands parliament, Dutch legislators agreed to commit 1400 troops to the forming NATO mission to Afghanistan.

There had been some concern that if the Dutch reneged on their original agreement to deploy to Afghanistan that Australia and New Zealand would withhold their troops.

Canada is committing a brigade to the Afghanistan mission and personnel have already started moving into the area.

The Dutch do not have a good record on such missions. Eleven years ago a Dutch peacekeeping contingent, under-equipped, with rules of engagement that prevented determined action and with no clear mission, stood by while Bosnian Serbs murdered 7000 Bosnian muslims. Dutch parliamentarians vow that will never happen again.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by NATO and made up primarily of British and Canadian troops has a tough mission. It is advertised as a "reconstruction" mission, although every participating country has admitted it is a clear combat mission.

The bottom line is, there simply aren't going to be enough troops to do what needs to be done. Even with the addition of the Dutch contingent, ISAF will have a difficult time putting a concentrated force in any area that demands it.

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