Thorough enquiry needed into results of Afghan war

26 July 2010

Thorough enquiry needed into results of Afghan war

The leaked US army logbooks have shown that the war in Afghanistan is bloodier and more difficult than was previously evident. SP spokesman Harry van Bommel is for this reason seeking clarification from the Dutch government as to the precise content of the notes contained in the books.

Children in Afghanistan

Van Bommel admits to having been shocked by the number of civilian deaths caused by foreign troops and wants to know just what role the Dutch military played in this. In addition, he is trying to find out whether the Dutch government was aware of the contents of the logbooks before they were leaked. “If it turns out that the log book data are correct, then that can only lead to the conclusion that further participation in this war would be a dead-end for the Netherlands and above all offer nothing to Afghanistan and its inhabitants. That means that all Dutch troops must be withdrawn as quickly as possible, not only the ground troops in Uruzgan but also the air force in Kandahar and the general staff in Kabul."

Wikileaks has put 90,000 logbook entries from the US armed forces on to its website. The entries contain shocking revelations, such as the fact that it has been known since 2006 that Osama bin Laden attends monthly meetings in the Pakistani town of Quetta, gatherings at which suicide bombings in Afghanistan are planned. "If it's really true," says Van Bommel, "then it's unbelievable. Has anyone tried to arrest him and if not, why not?"

It is becoming clear that there have been far more civilian casualties than has been revealed, and that far more exchanges of fire have taken place than admitted. "The Dutch government must make clear what precisely they knew of these data and provide, moreover, precise and accurate information regarding all incidents in which Dutch soldiers or the Dutch area of responsibility were involved,” Van Bommel says.

The SP parliamentary group wants no stone left unturned in an investigation and to hear no more half-truths or total lies about the reconstruction of Afghanistan. “One thing shines through from these notes," says Van Bommel. "That this war is dirtier than it already looked." It's clear, moreover, that the communications policies of NATO and of the Dutch Ministry of Defence are completely inadequate. "Once more it turns out that the embedded journalism policy doesn't meet the requirements," Van Bommel concludes. "The people and parliament are insufficiently informed. What's needed is a thorough enquiry into this appallingly long war."

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