USA Must Quit Afghanistan Now, (Who Invented) Osama bin Laden to Slaughter the Arabs and Muslims? and Osama bin Laden! Guilty or Innocent? are only a few burning issues and the mainstream media outlets are deliberately ignoring them.
Cheney: Iraq pullout would hurt Israel | JTA - Jewish & Israel News, Iraq: A War For Israel, Illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq was planned with or without 9/11 are also a taboo too.
- From correspondents in Kabul
- From: AFP
- August 01, 2010 6:23PM
DUTCH troops are leaving Afghanistan after four years, handing over control of military operations in central Oruzgan province after a political row at home forced their drawdown.
A Netherlands embassy spokeswoman said a small ceremony would take place today to handover to an American-led coalition of soldiers.
"Dutch forces have served with distinction in Oruzgan, and we honour their sacrifice and that of their Afghan counterparts during the Netherlands' tenure in the province," the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.
Around 1950 Dutch troops have been deployed in Afghanistan under ISAF, mainly in Oruzgan where opium production is high and the Taliban very active.
NATO had asked the Netherlands to extend the mission, which started in 2006 and has cost the lives of 24 soldiers to August 2011. But the request sparked a political row at home that led to the collapse of the coalition government in February and the end of the Dutch deployment.
- Dutch pull out of Afghanistan at weekend Adelaide Now, 3 days ago
- Troops are digging in, not sitting out The Australian, 8 Jul 2010
- Afghan withdrawal 'in two years' Perth Now, 23 Jun 2010
- US to lead Diggers in Afghanistan The Australian, 23 Jun 2010
- Afghanistan Diggers in intensive care The Australian, 22 Jun 2010
The Dutch will be replaced by American, Australian, Slovak and Singaporean soldiers.
"We have planned for the transfer to the new multinational operation to ensure a smooth transition... We will maintain current capabilities," ISAF said.
The Dutch mission, known for its 3D approach of defence, development and diplomacy, has been described by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as "the benchmark for others", and by US President Barack Obama as "one of the most outstanding" in Afghanistan.
Since the start of its lead role in Oruzgan at a cost of some €1.4 billion ($2.03 billion) to the Dutch state, the number of NGOs doing development work in the province has risen from six to 50, according to a Dutch embassy document.
Dutch chief of defence, General Peter van Uhm has said his troops had achieved "tangible results that the Netherlands can be proud of".
But the Taliban have welcomed the Dutch withdrawal and urged other countries with troops in Afghanistan to follow suit.
Canada is withdrawing its entire force of 2800 troops in Afghanistan next year, while Britain and the US have signalled that some troops will also leave in 2011.