View Full Version : The Dutch way in Afghanistan

04-11-2007, 10:07 AM
Oil spot theory or aversion to casualties?:


Mark O'Neill
04-11-2007, 11:00 AM
Hmm, I am guessing that avoiding combat in this AO is not going to last much longer...


Seems to me that the combination of our Special Forces Task group and the up-armoured Engr RTF with its organic arms manoeuvre element is a good, classic , mix of carrot and stick for rural COIN.

04-11-2007, 11:14 AM
Good follow up (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/10/world/asia/10afghan.html) from C.J. Chivers.

Accompanying multimedia video is also good.

04-11-2007, 05:21 PM
I'm not trying to be sarcastic but I couldn't help but wonder when that Dutch Commander informed his men of the Tali KIAs if they didn't maybe have a little impromptu memorial service for them?

04-12-2007, 02:37 PM
Good video on the NYTimes website. Interesting that the Dutch decide to pull out and guess who ends up having to go back in there? :confused:

04-17-2007, 12:22 PM
On a related note, the Dutch Army has invaded my neighborhood, literally. The German government does not restrict them to the training area, so for them it's just like REFORGER, maneuvering in the woods and through the fields.

We joke about payback for World War v.1.0 and v. 2.0.

Additionally, they use traffic control so extensively, I wonder if anyone in the Dutch Army is capable of maneuvering or land navigation.

06-05-2009, 05:36 PM
Of course I've noticed that this is a seriously old thread! Still, being in the Dutch army, I couldn't resist but react to these posts!

First of all, the Dutch army is of course still in Uruzgan and will remain there at least until december next year. So far, we've been quite succesful despite early criticism on our lack of "fighting spirit". I can assure you that lack of fighting spirit does NOT exist with the individual soldier, but has more to do with domestic politics.
From the early days in 2006 quite a lot has changed. We've gained combat experience (remember this is our first true combat deployment since Korea) and especially in the latter half of 2007 and early 2008 we've seen some very intense fighting.
Most of the province is now relatively quiet, although IED attacks are becoming more frequent, following the trend in the rest of the country.
As far as COIN goes, I think we've done quite well so far.

Reacting to 120mm. It's true that we're allowed to train outside regular training areas in Germany, as we are in our own country. Being brigade recce myself, if we were restricted to training areas I'd be done training within one or two days. Our regular training usually lasts five days covering around 80-120km. And I've never used any traffic control system, just the good old map Mk1 ;).

11-14-2009, 12:33 AM
Here is an interesting article about Dutch troops and their strategy in Afghanistan. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-dutch13-2009nov13,0,1314326.story. I know people disparage the Dutch and their methods, but spending four months training with the Dutch Army has given me an appreciation for their professionalism, training, and doctrine. I find it interesting that their ink spot strategy and defense, development, and diplomacy concept are now being placed under scrutiny as the U.S. tries to develop a new strategy for Afghanistan. However, even with the potential increase in troop numbers, it will be impossible for ISAF forces to adopt such a strategy large scale.
AP and AA forces are a critical part of such a strategy, but every report I have seen says that these forces, especially the police, are incapable of securing large areas without a substantial ISAF presence. Furthermore, such a strategy leaves large portions of rural areas without any troop presence, giving the Taliban free reign in these areas. Thus, it is no surprise that the civilian population is unwilling to oppose the Taliban.


02-21-2010, 03:07 AM
TLO, 18 Sep 09: A Socio-Political Assessment of Uruzgan Province, 2006-2009 (http://www.nrc.nl/multimedia/archive/00250/TLO_Uruzgan_Assessm_250835a.pdf)

Despite initial scepticism from larger NATO powers when the Dutch took command of Uruzgan (http://www.aisa.org.af/Downloads/ProvincialProfiles/Uruzgan.pdf) in August 2006, the troubled Province is now widely seen as one of the only positive developments in Afghanistan’s increasingly insecure South. Even the United States, once sceptical of the Netherlands-led mission, is now considering the integrated “whole of government” approach combining military might with development followed by the Dutch (http://www.netherlands-embassy.org/files/pdf/AfghanistanFactsheet3.pdf) in Uruzgan, worth replicating. However, the security, development and rule of law gains made in Uruzgan over the past three years by international civil-military actors (mainly Australian, Dutch and US) are both fragile and limited. A main problem is transferring responsibility over to an Afghan government that many citizens see as unrepresentative and either unwilling or unable to offer basic service provision or security to the population at large.

Using an assessment of Uruzgan Province conducted by The Tribal Liaison Office (TLO) (http://www.tlo-afghanistan.org/) at the beginning of the Dutch civil-military mission in Uruzgan as a baseline, this assessment evaluates the impact that the Dutch comprehensive ‘3 D’ (http://www.3dsecurity.org/) approach (development, diplomacy/governance, defence/security) has had on the Province over the past three years. The assessment draws upon approximately 190 interviews conducted through district surveys in Chora, Tirin Kot (2007), Gizab, Shahidi Hassas, Chenartu, Khas Uruzgan, and Deh Rawud (2008/9), an area media study (2008), and continuous informal discussion with a cross-section of individuals from Uruzgan (tribal elders, government officials, business owners). The surveys and discussions covered economic, development, security, and governance issues. Additional information was gathered in 4 focus group discussions and 11 individual interviews in Kabul, Tirin Kot, Deh Rawud, and Chora from 1 May to 7 May 2009, as well as 10 informal interviews conducted in Uruzgan during the first two weeks of September 2009.

Three years later, security has increased in Uruzgan, the provision of basic services is improving, and the economy is beginning to show initial positive changes. This is most noticeable in the three populous districts of Deh Rawud, Tirin Kot, and Chora (about 50%4 of the total population in Uruzgan) where the Dutch have focused their ‘ink-spot’ counterinsurgency strategy and ‘under the radar’ development efforts (this also extends to areas of Taliban-dominated Khas Uruzgan). In these districts the Dutch (http://www.boell.de/downloads/worldwide/PRT_20.04.05.pdf) comprehensive approach of ‘reconstruction where possible, military action where necessary has had a measure of success, and the local communities are gaining strength through the reemergence of vital grass-roots shuras. In the rest of Uruzgan, the situation has remained stable yet under the control of insurgents or other autonomous local forces (Gizab, Shahidi Hassas) or else contested (Khas Uruzgan).....

02-21-2010, 08:05 PM
Now that it seems that the Dutch troops will withdraw this year:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8526933.stm

It will be interesting to see if their absence means what has been achieved evaporates or has been embedded with the locals and Afghan state.

06-25-2010, 04:09 PM
Bodies found beheaded in southern Afghanistan (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hvWEqwq3CrRvaQCmt21MfoYhjZJQD9GICPEG3)

Three American troops were reported killed and the bodies of 11 men, some beheaded, were found Friday in rising violence across Afghanistan.

Mohammad Khan, deputy police chief in Uruzgan province, said a villager in the Bagh Char area of Khas Uruzgan district spotted the bodies in a field and called police.

"They were killed because the Taliban said they were spying for the government, working for the government," he said.

The acting Uruzgan governor, Khudia Rahim, said five or six of the 11 victims had been beheaded.

12-23-2010, 09:24 PM
TLO, Aug 10: The Dutch Engagement in Uruzgan, 2006-2010 (http://www.humansecuritygateway.com/documents/TLO_Dutch_Engagement_In_Uruzgan-2006-2010.pdf)

...On 1 August 2010, the US-led multinational Combined Team-Uruzgan replaced the Dutch command of the province. The Dutch had led the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Uruzgan since 2006 (http://gc.nautilus.org/Nautilus/australia/australian-forces-abroad-documents/0_368-bijlage-2.pdf). Despite the short span of four years, the Dutch have brought positive change to Uruzgan through a comprehensive ‘3D’ (http://www.netherlands-embassy.org/files/pdf/AfghanistanFactsheet3.pdf) engagement approach (http://media.leidenuniv.nl/legacy/dimitriudegraaf.pdf) (development, diplomacy / governance, and defence / security), that emphasized ‘development where possible’, ‘force where necessary’, capacity-building of Afghan National Security Forces, and engagement of key community leaders. The Dutch targeted their efforts on the three more populated districts of Tirin Kot, Deh Rawud and Chora. Today Afghan government and non-governmental actors have a greater presence in these regions and as a result residents have better access to resources. In the four remaining districts of Uruzgan (Char China, Gizab, Khas Uruzgan, and Chenartu) US and Australian Special Forces secured a continued but very limited Afghan government presence. In these areas the Dutch implemented an ‘under the radar’ development approach to reach the population. Limited resources, however, did not allow for assisting in the improvement of governance....

12-23-2010, 11:06 PM
There are some broad assumptions here. What works in Uruzgan won't necessarily work anywhere else. It's inhabited by Hazara, is more geographically isolated, and the Dutch chose that "holistic" approach because they are weak fighters. If they tried that in Helmend or any other border province, they'd have been bounced outta there in six months. I was in Uruzgan in 2006/2007 and say this with first hand experience.

Yes, COIN is all about looking at the whole picture and not just killing tangos, we all got that. And civil affairs/CMO/psyops etc is important. But let's not give credit where credit isn't due.