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Dutch News
Dutch tactics in Afghanistan praised 1/8/2007
Monday 08 January 2007

The Dutch military operation in Uruzgan has aroused interest from Nato partners who wonder whether it’s just luck or the softer Dutch approach that has resulted in so few Dutch casualties in Afghanistan, reports Monday’s Volkskrant.

Rather than fighting the Taliban, Dutch troops focus on building trust and welcome local inhabitants to their posts with tea and dried fruit, the paper says.

This approach has evoked praise but also raised eyebrows in the British and Canadian press, says the Volkskrant. But the fact is that while 35 British soldiers and 36 Canadians have died in the conflict, the Dutch have booked just two casualties.

Dutch officers explained their ‘people-oriented’ tactics to top Nato military and diplomats at an international conference on peace missions held at Breda recently, says the Volkskrant.

But they also questioned whether a similar approach would work in the more violent Afghan provinces of Helmand and Khandahar. And they are also aware that luck has also played a role in keeping their troops safe.

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