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    Latest news 2nd quarter 2007Current news summaries:

    (These summaries will be updated within a few days)

    18-6-2007: Dutch soldier killed in Afghanistan
    A Dutch Sergeant Major of the Royal Netherlands Army has been killed during fighting around the town of Chora in Afghanistan. Three of his colleagues from the 13 Infantry Battalion of 11 Airmobile Brigade were injured.

    18-6-2007: No torture of prisoners by Dutch military
    This morning, the Van den Berg Commission and the Monitoring Commission of the Intelligence and Security Services presented their report of inquiry regarding the alleged torture of prisoners by Dutch military personnel in Iraq to the Netherlands Minister of Defence, Van Middelkoop. Both commissions reached the conclusion that it cannot be proved that Dutch military personnel were guilty of torturing prisoners during interrogations carried out during the SFIR mission in Al Muthanna, Iraq.

    15-6-2007: Dutch soldier killed in attack in Afghanistan
    A Dutch soldier was killed this morning in a suicide bombing in Tarin Kowt. A number of Afghan children also died in the attack, which involved a car bomb. Three Dutch soldiers and a number of Afghan civilians were injured.

    1-6-2007: Dutch helicopters lead the way in fight for stability in Afghanistan
    On Wednesday evening, 30 May, two Chinook helicopters of the Royal Netherlands Air Force were part of the first wave of a major airborne operation. The aircraft transported service personnel of the coalition partners tasked with securing an area near the Kajaki dam. It was the first time that Dutch helicopters were deployed in the first wave of such a large-scale operation.

    31-5-2007: Update on Afghanistan
    The consideration of alternative means of living for the Afghan people seems to be paying off. The Uruzgan Chamber of Commerce has now registered some 200 farmers who are interested in taking part in a saffron-growing pilot project.

    30-5-2007: F-16s leave for Chile
    The last batch of six F-16 aircraft sold to Chile took off from Twenthe Air Base on 3 June, bound for their new home base. In all, the Dutch Defence organisation has sold eighteen fighter aircraft to Chile.

    24-5-2007: Update on Afghanistan
    The past period has seen increased deployment around Chora. From the moment that the local ANP checkpoint fell into enemy hands on 26 April, the Dutch contingent has been in the region to support the local Afghan authorities.

    24-5-2007: Coastguard arrests 15 illegal aliens off Aruba
    In the night of 23 May 2007, the Netherlands Antillean and Aruban Coastguard detained six women, seven men and two crew members at sea. Two bags of narcotics were also found in the boat.

    23-5-2007: Basis for European Air Transport Command
    Together with three other European countries, the Netherlands has laid the foundations for the joint control of transport aircraft. The draft agreement for the establishment of the European Air Transport Command was recently signed by Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    23-5-2007: Crown Prince visit focuses on Australian-Dutch cooperation
    During his visit to Afghanistan, Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander also visited the Australian military personnel based at Camp Holland. "It was a bit of a surprise actually", said Shane Johnsson, on conclusion of the royal visit to his Australian Trade School.

    22-5-2007: Crown Prince pays surprise visit to Afghanistan
    The Dutch soldiers at Kamp Holland in Tarin Kowt and on Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan today had the unexpected pleasure of a visit by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. The Prince was informed extensively of the activities and ins and outs of the personnel there.

    22-5-2007: Coastguard seizes three hundred kilograms of drugs
    On 21 May, the Netherlands Antillean and Aruban Coastguard seized three hundred kilograms of narcotics. It was a joint operation in cooperation with the Organised Crime Section and the Warda nos Costa. The drugs were being transported in a small fishing boat.

    19-5-2007: Mosque for Afghan army opened at Kamp Holland
    From this moment, the Muslim community serving in the Afghan National Army at Kamp Holland in Uruzgan, southern Afghanistan, have their own place of worship. The brand-new building was officially opened today by the symbolic handing over of the key by the Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).

    18-5-2007: British reserve troops on stand-by for support in Uruzgan
    British troops of the Regional Command South Reserve Battle Group are prepared and on stand-by to provide support to ISAF troops anywhere in southern Afghanistan. In addition, they can be deployed at short notice in the event of an immediate threat.

    17-5-2007: Medical equipment for hospital in Tarin Kowt
    The Provincial Reconstruction Team at Kamp Holland in Uruzgan donated medical supplies to the Tarin Kowt hospital today. This is the second time the PRT has done this. Unlike the previous time, when the donation consisted of small supplies such as blankets, gauze and medicine, this time the hospital received advanced medical equipment.

    17-5-2007: RAZEB approves EU police mission to Afghanistan
    In Brussels this week, the Ministers of Defence of the European Union gave the go-ahead for an EU police mission in Afghanistan. The mission, to be named EUPOL, will focus on advising, reforming and training the Afghan police force. The Netherlands is considering a substantial contribution of ten personnel to this mission: trainers, advisers and experts. The mission will start in mid-June 2007.

    16-5-2007: Corps staff on naval vessel to prepare for NATO contribution
    During the coming weeks, the staff of 1(GE/NL)Corps will be taking part in Exercise Baltic Diamond. In this NATO exercise, the corps will be preparing for the first half of 2008, when it will provide the army contribution to NATO's rapid-response force.

    4-5-2007: Dutch Task Force soldiers hold remembrance ceremony
    At 20.00 hrs this evening local time, the soldiers of Task Force Uruzgan at Kamp Holland in Tarin Kowt and Camp Hadrian in Deh Rawod held a solemn ceremony to commemorate the Dutchmen and women who have lost their lives in the fight for freedom.

    2-5-2007: Chinooks replace Cougars in Afghanistan
    Three Chinook helicopters took over the transport tasks from the five Cougars at Kandahar Airfield today. Today marked the official handover, after the helicopters had been flown in over the past weeks.

    1-5-2007: General Van Loon lays down command in Afghanistan
    On 1 May 2007, Major General Ton van Loon handed over the command of the Regional Command South of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. He is succeeded by Major General Jacko Page from the UK. The Commander of ISAF, US General Dan McNeill, also attended the ceremony in Kandahar.

    25-4-2007: Decision on extension of Afghanistan mission this summer
    The Netherlands government will decide on a possible extension of the term of the Dutch participation in the operation in Afghanistan in the course of coming summer. Foreign Minister Verhagen said this today during a general meeting of the Permanent Committees on Defence, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.

    25-4-2007: Follow-up course F-16 pilots moved from Netherlands to US
    As of today, the F-16 pilot training course will be provided from Springfield air base, Ohio, USA. This brings an end to the training tasks of 306 Squadron at Volkel air base.
    r />20-4-2007: Dutch corporal killed in Afghanistan
    This morning, the 21-year-old Dutch corporal Cor Strik from the Airmobile Brigade was killed by an explosion while conducting a foot patrol in Helmand province in Afghanistan. General Dick Berlijn, Chief of Defence, made this known during a press briefing today. The explosion was probably caused by a so-called improvised explosive device (IED).

    12-4-2007: Netherlands sells Leopard tanks to Canada
    The Defence organisation has sold one hundred Leopard battle tanks to Canada. This agreement was announced during the visit of the Minister of Defence, Eimert van Middelkoop, to Canada. The tanks in question are twenty Leopards 2 A6 and eighty Leopards 2 A4.

    11-4-2007: Dutch coordination centre in Bosnia is operational
    The Regional Coordination Centre 1 in northwestern Bosnia is operational. The centre, from where various Liaison and Observer Teams (LOT) are directed, is under the command of Dutch troops.

    6-4-2007: Dutch serviceman killed in Uruzgan
    Today at 12.30 hrs local time, a 33-year-old Sergeant Class 1 of the Royal Netherlands Army was killed in an accident involving a Patria armoured vehicle in Uruzgan. The other members of the crew were unharmed.

    29-3-2007: Renewed Patriot air defence system for the air force
    As of Friday 30 March, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has a modernised Patriot air defence system at its disposal. The improved weapon system is capable of defending a larger area against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and other airborne targets. The system's firepower has increased too.

    28-3-2007: Relief goods transported to area hit by floods
    The Netherlands has hired a large civil transport helicopter in Aghanistan for the transport of relief goods. The cargo was taken to the west bank of the Helmand river, which was badly hit by heavy flooding last week. The relief goods consisted of blankets, clothing and plastic sheets for shelter and were sent by, among others, the Afghan government, which is coordinating the aid effort. The HALO helicopter is normally used for supplying Dutch units in Uruzgan.

    23-3-2007: Reduction in number of helicopters in Uruzgan
    The Apache helicopter detachment, currently operating from Tarin Kowt, will be downsized from six to four helicopters in mid-April. The decision was taken in order to guarantee the deployment in the longer term. This was the message from ministers Van Middelkoop, Verhagen and Koenders in a Letter to Parliament. By way of compensation, two extra F-16s, which can be flown in within three weeks, will be kept on stand-by in the Netherlands from that time onwards. From 1 May, three Chinook transport helicopters will take over the tasks of five Cougar transport helicopters at Kandahar airfield.

    20-3-2007: Suicide bombing in Uruzgan fails
    On Tuesday 20 March, at 15.00 hrs local time, an unsuccessful suicide bombing took place in the Afghan province of Uruzgan. The attack was aimed at a passing convoy of Dutch military vehicles. No Dutch military personnel were wounded as a result of the attack, but the suicide bomber was killed.

    01/25/2007Latest news 1st quarter 200719-03-2007: TFU provides assistance in Afghanistan floods
    Dutch units are assisting in a relief operation after heavy flooding to the south-west of their camp in Deh Rawod. The severe rainfall of the last few days has caused the river Helmand to burst its banks at several points. A number of civilians have been spotted on the roofs of quala houses, in treetops and even in the rising waters. Where possible, Task Force Uruzgan soldiers have been issuing blankets and food parcels, and leading civilians to safety.

    19-3-2007: Major drugs haul thanks to cooperation
    In cooperation with American units, the guard ship for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, HNLMS Zuiderkruis, intercepted over a thousand kilos of cocaine on Friday 9 March. The drugs were found in a speedboat in the central Caribbean Region, during a combined counter-drugs operation.

    18-3-2007: Shura with Afghan police
    For the first time a shura, or meeting, has been held involving the commanders of all checkpoints manned by the Afghan police in Tarin Kowt and Chora districts.

    16-3-2007: Australia's PM visits Kamp Holland
    The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday (15 March). He visited Kamp Holland in Tarin Kowt (Uruzgan province).

    14-3-2007: New Afghan soldiers undergoing training
    On Wednesday 14 March, forty Afghan soldiers began their training with the Afghan National Army (ANA) at Kamp Holland in Tarin Kowt. The soldiers are being trained by ANA instructors, who are being supervised by the Dutch Operational Mentoring Liaison Team (NLD-OMLT).

    9-3-2007: Dutch support for ISAF operation Achilles
    Dutch units based in the Afghan province of Uruzgan began their support of the multinational ISAF operation Achilles this morning. In addition to their regular activities, Dutch and Afghan units will be monitoring the border traffic between Helmand and Uruzgan, in what is known as 'Operation Rakhman'.

    8-3-2007: Update on Afghanistan
    Sixty police officials of the Afghan National Auxiliary Police (ANAP) were recently awarded their diplomas. Royal Netherlands Marechaussee instructors and their colleagues from the American Dynacorps taught them basic police skills in an intensive training course.

    5-3-2007: Minehunter squadron active in Dutch coastal waters
    As of the first weekend in March, a NATO squadron of 5 or 6 ships is operating off the coast of the Netherlands. The minehunters are being deployed to clear aircraft bombs and mines, most of which were dropped in the North Sea in the Second World War.

    2-3-2007: Prince Charles visits Dutch troops in Bosnia
    A Dutch unit in Bosnia received a VIP visit on 1 March. The British Crown Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited the 1st Welsh Guards, to which the Dutch company is attached as part of the Multinational Battle Group.

    28-2-2007: Hercules leaves for Afghanistan to facilitate rotation of Dutch troops
    A C-130 Hercules transport aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force will leave for Afghanistan on Thursday 1 March. The C-130 detachment will be stationed at Kandahar Airfield, in support of the tactical airlift capability in Afghanistan. The aircraft will mainly be deployed to facilitate the rotation of the Dutch soldiers of Task Force Uruzgan (TFU) and the Air Task Force (ATF).

    28-2-2007: Drugs intercept by naval vessel is record heroin haul
    A counter-drug operation in Curaço on 23 February, conducted by various units led by the Royal Netherlands Navy, resulted in the interception of over 530 kg of mixed contraband, including 123 kg of heroin. Earlier reports had suggested that the haul only concerned cocaine. It was the largest amount of heroin to have been seized in the Caribbean.

    27-2-2007: Afghan children happy with new playground equipment
    Dutch military personnel installed several pieces of playground equipment in the town of Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan this afternoon. They were assisted by the Afghan National Army. The local population, and the children in particular, were full of enthusiasm for the new equipment. The Minister of Sport, Ruhalla Almas, said he was very happy with the gift from ISAF, because "sport is important for the development of a country".

    25-2-2007: TFU vehicle damaged in explosion
    A Task Force Uruzgan vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device this morning in the vicinity of Tarin Kowt. Although the vehicle was damaged, there were no casualties. The Dutch military vehicle crew were conducting a patrol to the north of Tarin Kowt.

    22-2-2007: New Defence political leadership
    The new Minister of Defence, Eimert van Middelkoop, took over the portfolio of Henk Kamp on Thursday. Cees van der Knaap will continue as State Secretary for Defence in the Balkenende IV government, which took office this afternoon.

    22-2-2007: European Air Transport Command to be located in Eindhoven?
    With support from Germany, the Netherlands is to make Eindhoven air base available as the headquarters of the European Air Transport Command (EATC). The Ministers of Defence of Germany and the Netherlands, Dr Franz-Jozef Jung and Henk Kamp, signed a draft agreement to that effect on 15 February.

    16-2-2007: Soldiers come across weapon storage site
    A Dutch unit of ISAF military personnel has found a weapon storage site during a patrol. The storage site contained ten RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenades).

    15-2-2007: Armoured vehicle drives over explosive device
    An armoured TFU vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device this morning. Three Dutch military personnel sustained minor injuries in the explosion.

    2-2-2007: Dutch military contribution in Iraq extended
    The Dutch contribution to the NATO training mission in Iraq is to be extended for six months in principle, from mid-February to mid-August 2007. Throughout that period the Netherlands is to provide fourteen military personnel, one fewer than is the case in the current contribution. The decision to that effect was made by the government today.

    2-2-2007: Six new Chinooks for the armed forces
    The Defence organisation is to procure six new Chinook transport helicopters. This will mean an augmentation of the fleet of four helicopters; two of the six will replace two helicopters that were lost in 2005.

    30-1-2007: Dutch arrest Afghans in Uruzgan
    Dutch reconnaissance personnel arrested three Afghans during a patrol to the north of the town of Tarin Kowt yesterday evening. The reason for the arrest was the discovery of a missile launcher, several missiles and mortar shells and a number of small-calibre weapons.

    24-1-2007: Dutch air-force general deputy commander of ISAF
    Major General F.H. (Freek) Meulman is leaving for Kabul in Afghanistan tomorrow (25 January) for a one-year tour of duty. Meulman is to take over as Deputy Commander Air at the Headquarters of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF).

    19-1-2007: Five injured in attack in Uruzgan
    A Task Force Uruzgan patrol was hit by an improvised explosive device this afternoon at around 14.00 hrs local time. The attack was carried out using a vehicle. Five Dutch military personnel travelling in a YPR-765 armoured tracked vehicle were injured in the incident.

    13-01-2007: Aeronautical support base for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coastguard
    Yesterday, the Hato military airfield on Curaço was officially handed over to the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coastguard. "Today, in a single stroke, the Coastguard's organisation has been extended to include an aeronautical support base" said Commodore Frank Sijtsema, Flag Officer for the Caribbean and Commander of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coastguard.

    08-01-2007: Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coastguard in action
    The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coastguard arrested nineteen illegal persons off the coast of Aruba on Saturday. The people in question were seventeen men and two women of Colombian nationality. The day before, four stolen cars were discovered on Curaço by a helicopter crew.

    03-01-2007: Sperwer takes to the air in Afghanistan
    The unmanned aircraft used by the Royal Netherlands Army was deployed in operational circumstances for the first time over Uruzgan.On 31 December, the Sperwer flew for one hour before landing at Kamp Holland in Tarin Kowt.

    07/26/2006Latest news 4th quarter 2006Current news summaries: (These summaries will be updated within a few days)

    29-12-2006: First airmobile deployment under operational circumstances
    On 20 and 23 December, the reserve company of Regional Command South was deployed for airmobile tasks as part of operation Baaz Tsuka in Afghanistan.The action on 20 December was a humanitarian operation and on 23 December the company was flown into the town of Mushan.

    23-12-2006: Dutch come to assistance of Afghan police
    Yesterday 22 December, Dutch units from the Task Force Uruzgan came to the assistance of the Afghan national police (ANP) when their police post was attacked by enemy fighters.The policemen, who were inside a post located a few kilometres from the Dutch patrol base Poentjak, returned the enemy fire with their small-calibre weapons.

    14-12-2006: Dutch frigate takes part in UNIFIL
    From 15 December, the multipurpose frigate HNLMS Van Galen will participate in the maritime component of UNIFIL, the UN mission in Lebanon.As part of an international flotilla led by Germany, the HNLMS Van Galen will patrol the waters off the Lebanese coast to check for illegal arms transports and to contribute to upholding security at sea.

    08-12-2006: Dutch F-16s to be stationed in the US
    From May 2007, fourteen Dutch F-16 fighters and a small air force detachment will be stationed in the United States for training and instruction purposes.The unit, 306 Squadron from Volkel Air Base, will be accommodated at Springfield Air National Guard Base in the state of Ohio.Today, the United States and the Netherlands signed an agreement to that effect.

    3-12-2006: Patrol base Poentjak under fire
    On Friday evening 1 December at 20.50 local time, the patrol base Poentjak (12 km northeast of Kamp Holland) was taken under fire by an unknown number of fighters. A nearby Afghan police post was also attacked. The patrol base was fired at from a great distance with rifles and mortars. The Dutch troops returned fire with the on-board weapons of their armoured vehicles and small-calibre weapons.

    01-12-2006: Expansion of PRTs in Uruzgan
    The coming of winter normally marks the beginning of a relatively quiet period in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, offering the Dutch Task Force the opportunity to increase the number of patrols carried out by the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).In this way, General Dick Berlijn, Chief of Defence, expects to be able to make a greater contribution to (re-)construction activities in the region over the months to come.

    29-11-2006: Last flight of Fokker-60 U
    This afternoon, the Fokker-60 U made it last flight through Dutch airspace. The Royal Netherlands Air Force is putting a stop to the deployment of the two remaining Utility versions, which were assigned to 334 Squadron at Eindhoven Air Base.

    14-11-2006: The Netherlands signs agreement for next phase JSF
    State Secretary for Defence, Cees van der Knaap, today in Washington signed an agreement for the production, maintenance and further development of the Joint Strike Fighter. Van der Knaap's American counterpart, Gordon England, signed on behalf of the United States.

    12-11-2006: F-16s moved to Kandahar
    The eight Dutch F-16s in Afghanistan were flown over at the weekend from Kabul to the Kandahar airbase. The bulk of the ISAF forces are now in southern Afghanistan, which reduces the response times for the southern provinces substantially. The fighter-bombers can still be deployed throughout Afghanistan, however.

    9-11-2006: German-Dutch framework agreement signed
    On Wednesday, 8 November, Minister of Defence Kamp and the German State Secretary for Defence, Christain Schmidt, signed a framework agreement at the headquarters of the German-Netherlands Army Corps in Münster (Germany). The agreement covers an even closer degree of cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries.

    8-11-2006: New target-acquisition systems for F-16s
    The Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with Northrop Grumman Corporation for 20 laser-based target-designation systems for the F-16. The Litening AT 'targeting pods' are designed for accurate localisation and identification of targets for laser-guided weapons. The first deliveries are expected in mid-2007.

    1-11-2006: Dutch general leads ISAF in Southern Afghanistan
    As of today, the Netherlands is to lead the ISAF mission in the southern part of Afghanistan for six months. Major General Ton van Loon took over the Regional Command South from the Canadian general David Fraser at the international base in Kandahar.

    1-11-2006: Portugal buys two Dutch frigates
    The Portuguese Minister of Defence, Nuno Severiano Teixeira, paid a working visit to the Dutch Ministry of Defence today. On that occasion, he also signed a contract for the purchase of two Dutch M-frigates.

    20-10-2006: More troops in Uruzgan
    The Netherlands is to increase its military presence in the south of Afghanistan by some 130 personnel. bringing the total to 1,540 military personnel. Plans exist for the addition of another two hundred personnel with effect from 1 November, during the six-month period under which the Netherlands will be in command of the ISAF mission in the south, led by Major General Ton van Loon. The decision to that effect was made by the government today.

    20-10-2006: Apaches moved to Tarin Kowt
    Six Dutch Apache combat helicopters moved base from Kandahar to Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan today. During the operation, the Apaches' readiness status remained unaffected. By stationing the helicopters in Tarin Kowt, it will be possible to protect the Dutch ground troops at extremely short notice.

    13-10-2006: New armoured vehicles for Royal Netherlands Army
    The Council of Ministers has approved the proposal by State Secretary Van der Knaap to purchase 200 Boxer armoured wheeled vehicles for the Royal Netherlands Army. The Boxer was developed by the Netherlands and Germany. The purchase will cost 624 million euros.

    12-10-2006: HNLMS Van Galen to go to Lebanon
    The House of Representatives voted unanimously today in favour of the proposal by Ministers Henk Kamp of Defence and Ben Bot of Foreign Affairs regarding the deployment of two frigates off the coast of Lebanon as part of the UNIFIL mission. This mission will conclude on 31 August 2007.

    5-10-2006: NATO takes over responsibility for all of Afghanistan
    NATO took over responsibility for security in all of Afghanistan in an official ceremony today. The ceremony was attended by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and the commanders of the US troops and ISAF.

    2-10-2006: Navy takes part in Brilliant Midas 06
    The Royal Netherlands Navy is playing an important role in the NATO exercise Brilliant Midas (BM) 06, which is being conducted in the western Mediterranean from 29 September to 13 October. It forms the core of the force opposing the NATO Response Force (NRF) for the purpose of the exercise.
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