April 21, 2008

No Chickenhawks in the Dutch DoD

In a story that Kip somehow missed this weekend, the son of the Dutch Chief of Defense--the senior military post in the country--was killed in action on Saturday by a Taliban-laid IED.

In response to the attack, the Army union in the Netherlands called for the deployment of more troops to the country.

Just how thin Dutch troops are is articulated in this article:

The Netherlands currently has 1,650 troops stationed in Afghanistan....It's estimated that the Netherlands has around 500 troops in the province [Uruzgan] who are actually able to go ‘out of the gate'...Given that there always has to be a reserve unit, or Quick Reaction Force, on stand-by to turn out in case of emergency, at any given time only about 150 soldiers are left to do the everyday work on the ground, such as making contacts with the local population, exploring, and if need be engaging the Taliban.

This is a province of some 22,000 square kilometers--approximately the size of the US State of New Jersey. To give some perspective about what a drop in the bucket these 150 combat troops plus a smattering of Australians, Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and US Special Forces are, consider that the state of New Jersey has 2910 State Police alone in addition to thousands more local police.