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The Dutch leave Afghanistan, without their interpreters

20100725-laatste-patrol-ek1030_tcm46-169275.jpg(BRUSSELS2) Dutch troops leave Uruzgan (Afghanistan), due to lack of sufficient political support in the Netherlands to renew the mission (1). It is the Americans and Australians who will take over. The main base “Kamp Holland” near Train Kowt will be transferred on August 1st. That of Deh Rawod has already been handed over to the Americans on July 18. By December, there will be no more soldiers in this Afghan province.

Performers left behind

On the other hand, the 102 interpreters who assisted the military could be left out. Contrary to the Americans who allow these essential collaborators of the military to benefit from the visa program, The Hague does not seem to want to imagine such an initiative. What raises a debate, limited

The Dutch approach

In an interview with Telegraaf, the Chief of Staff of the Dutch armies, General Peter Van Uhm praises a "maximum result" and the " Dutch approach »: mixture of military action and civil action, ethics and action. The Dutch thus spent 620 million euros on various aid projects out of a total budget of 2,1 billion euros (a ratio of almost one euro in three spent). In military matters, the presence in Afghanistan also made it possible – according to Van Uhm – to “test skills” – a full-scale exercise for the army – and “new equipment”. The Dutch who committed up to 2000 men (and women) to the NATO mission (ISAF) lost 24 soldiers killed and 140 wounded in 4 years of presence.

But a new technique: the drug-addicted sidekick

Losses that prompted some soldiers to do everything to avoid going to Afghanistan. Even denouncing themselves as drug addicts. This is a minority practice but confirmed by the military union ACOM-CNV. The number of dismissals for drug addiction has increased steadily over the past 3 years: 55 in 2007, 79 in 2008, around fifty already in mid-2009. Particularly in the units approached to go to Uruzgan. In short, the modern version of “wearing pale”.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Read: Rififi in The Hague around the withdrawal from Afghanistan (update)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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