Axeghanistan Day Ten: Dutch Commander Defends Troops

22.06.07

Categorie: Afghanistan, Axe in Afghanistan '07 |

dutch-air-force-ah-64d-apache-and-an-army-pzh-2000-howitzer-crew-during-operations-against-taliban-in-chura-june-16-2007.JPGThis story should have run in The Washington Times. I wouldn’t know. As you read this, I am on an airplane somewhere over the Atlantic.

The Dutch commander of a combined Dutch and Australian force in the southern province of Uruzgan on Wednesday defended the conduct of his troops amid hand-wringing from the Dutch Ministry of Defense in The Hague.

Beginning Friday the approximately 2,000 soldiers of 42 Battlegroup and Afghan police fought a pitched battle against hundreds of Taliban fighters in Chura, around 10 miles from the main Dutch base near the provincial capital of Tarin Kowt. By Wednesday the major fighting had ended.

The ministry briefly attempted to suppress media coverage of what was the most intense combat the Dutch army had seen in decades. The Dutch mission in Afghanistan, which the ministry sold as strictly a reconstruction operation, has been unpopular with the public.

But Lieutenant Colonel Gino Van Der Voet said he is proud of his soldiers. “They fought for five days straight. 42 Battlegroup gave all it got.”

The Taliban initiated the battle with a suicide bombing in Tarin Kowt that killed one Dutch soldier and around 10 Afghans, including several children. The fighting in Chura claimed one Dutch soldier and an undetermined number of civilians, including some who were executed by the Taliban, according to Van Der Voet. He said that the Afghan police had suffered “heavy casualties” but that exact numbers were not yet unavailable. Dutch officials reported as many as 100 Taliban killed.

Van Der Voet added that some ground was lost to the Taliban in the initial phases of the battle, but Dutch and Afghan forces counterattacked and retook the captured positions.

“We showed again that we can defeat the Taliban,” he said.

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32 Responses to “Axeghanistan Day Ten: Dutch Commander Defends Troops”

  1. Bob says:

    Thank you for your coverage from TK. The Dutch media don’t report about these actions by the Dutch batttlegroup. They are only interested in news from Afghanistan if Dutch soldiers are killed or wounded.

  2. D.G. LYNN says:

    WAY TO GO COL.!! you’ve got great troops and obviously they did themselves proud. Don’t let the handwringers get you down.
    Semper Fi !!

  3. Ian says:

    How is it possible that you arrived just in the right place and time to report on this major battle? Fate obviously has its plans for you.

  4. Ben says:

    Do you know if any Aussies have been involved in the fighting?

  5. Frank says:

    Everybody in Holland is very proud of the accomplishments of our forces. This is indeed the heaviest fighting in decades for the Dutch armed forces, it included the use of our heavy artillery.

    There have been several publications in the Dutch media about this event. Apparently the Taliban forced civilians to fight alongside them and executed several people who refused.

    Also compliments to the Afghans who defended their turf there. We willc ontinu to help you, as long as needed.

    Lets hope some day our world can do without this violence.

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