In the past, military defeat has led to resignations of Ministers of Defence. But in February 2010, it was the first time that a ruling party in the Netherlands, the social democrat party (Partij van de Arbeid, PvdA), brought down the coalition government, as a protest against extending a military mission. This historical moment even inspired the Taliban to congratulate the social democrats: ‘We congratulate the Dutch for this courageous and independent decision,’ said Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi. The Taliban expressed the hope that other countries would follow the Dutch example. After four years of intensive commitment to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the mission of around 2,000 Dutch soldiers in the Afghan province Uruzgan ended. On August 1, the last troops of Taskforce Uruzgan (TFU) transferred command to American forces. Between 2006 and 2010 The Netherlands were active as lead nation in Uruzgan. Thousands of soldiers and dozens of civilian personnel contributed significantly to ISAF. Initially, rotations of 1,200 to 1,400 soldiers would serve in Uruzgan, a figure that rose to almost 2,000. The Dutch suffered 24 fatal casualties.
What exactly did the Dutch troops do in Uruzgan? How was the mission presented, which discussions were held over definitions and terminology? An what happened during these four years? Only rarely did military deployment lead to such intense discussion as did TFU, in the media as well as in politics. The Netherlands invested heavily in this operation. Many more soldiers were deployed than in previous years, and Dutch soldiers did not engage in combat so often since the Korean War. This article analyses the recent history of the Dutch mission in Uruzgan, both the political-strategic and the operational and tactical aspects. First, the focus lies on the political discussion and the nature of the mission. Second, some actual TFU operations will be examined.
- strategic communication,
- Baluchi valley
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/george_dimitriu/9/