In the Dutch press today: Dutch highest military commander, Dick Berlijn, writes in a still secret advice to the government that he wants to reduce the Dutch force in Afghanistan from the now 1650 men to an even tinier force of less than 1200 soldiers. He thinks his army is overstretched. His argumentation: large scale training exercises for war are now in danger. But what better exercise his men can have, than a real war?
Source say that this message has already been communicated by Berlijn and defence minister Van Middelkoop to Navo secretary De Hoop Scheffer.
Dutch politicians have always sold the war in Afghanistan as a kind of peace keeping mission who's main task was to rebuild the country. They did their best to give the smallest commitment to the war as possible. But after they left the Americans in the cold in Iraq, they promised support for offensive operations in Afghanistan. Dutch commando forces were send to Uruzgan. But the Dutch never really committed to the war. The Americans have now even removed the Dutch from their list of countries who participate in operation enduring freedom. Telling is the fact that the United Arab Emirates who operate from the same military camp as the Dutch are on the list.
Meanwhile Dutch parliament is starting to investigate if Dutch commando's have operated outside their given mandate.