SP demands debate on terms of engagement in Uruzgan

28 October 2007

SP demands debate on terms of engagement in Uruzgan

The SP is demanding a parliamentary debate over the terms of engagement observed by Dutch soldiers in the Afghan province of Uruzgan. The demand was provoked by the news that Australian military personnel stationed in the province refused to fight alongside Dutch colleagues because they considered the chance of civilian deaths to be too great. According to a UN report, Dutch armed forces were responsible for dozens of civilian victims.

Australian planning officers foresaw the horrifying course which the battle would take and refused to make their troops available. “It turns out that the Australian military was right to refuse, although parliament was never informed that they objected," said SP foreign affairs Harry van Bommel specialist Harry van Bommel. "It's also clear that the secret instructions regarding the use of violence given to Dutch troops are far too lax. If our military leaders are serious about gaining the trust of the Afghan population, they should understand that this cannot be achieved with terms of engagement which lead to mass slaughter of civilians. These terms of engagement must be revised."

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