Monday, December 19, 2005

Footdragging on decision on reinforcing Dutch troops in Afghanistan

Parliament in Den Haag (The Hague) was to decide pro or con reinforcing the 700 troops The Netherlands has in Afghanistan with another 600 troop contingent. The latest troop are supposed to secure the process of democratisation in the province of Uruzgan in South Afghanistan. The troops will be a part of ISAF.

The decision has been postphoned to next Thursday.

The 3 party government coalition is divided about sending troop to Afghanistan. Coalition partner D66 thinks it could be risky. They would prefer to send the troops to Thailand, which is relatively peaceful, has good food, cold beer and willing women.

A delegation of parlementarians that visited Afghanistan could not be reassured by US soldiers that quick American reinforcements would be forthcoming in case of an assault by Taliban forces.

Ever since the debacle at Srebrenica in 1995, where a besieged Dutch company was overwhelmed by a brigade strength Serbian force supported by heavy weapons and paramilitaries it has dawned on Dutch politicians that actual fighting takes place in the areas where so called peace forces are sent. In Afghanistan where the Taliban do not have the capability to operate in units bigger than a battallion and generally fight in small bands and squads the risk of a Srebrenica repeating is zero.

There is a risk of of attrition from these units by sniping and bombing of course. But a well trained Western force in company strength (150-250 troops) should not only be able to fend off anything the Taliban send against them, but also look forward to engage such an concentration of troops. The dispersion of the Taliban forces is the main reason why the US troops can not use their superior fire power and training to obliterate their forces.

A well, nobody in Dutch politics reads any military history, anyway.

I guess its not just generals who are always fighting the last war. (If this were true I wonder were the generals come from who are fighting the current war).

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