Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Barely one month after the US midterm elections, it is clear that the Democratic Party wants to declare defeat in the War On Terror. The Democratic members of a Select Club of one hundred Senators, Congress members of the world's most powerful nation, a country with 300 million inhabitants, a GDP of over 13 trillion dollars, and a defense budget amounting to 40% of the planet's military expenses, literally can't wait to give in to maybe twenty-thousand semi-illiterate headchoppers and wifebeaters who wash perhaps once a year, don't clip their toenails, defecate in pits and can't figure out how to replace the batteries in their night vision binoculars. A man would get down from less.

It is therefore good to now and then step into an alternative universe, which in this case happens to be the real one. The following video shows Dutch Commandos in Uruzgan Province, Central Afghanistan, who mark a Taliban-held hilltop with a Ma Deuce, whereupon a US Navy F-18 blasts the Holy Warriors to their own private lovefest. It's in Dutch, but I'll let the images speak for themselves. If there is any quaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagmire in the War On Terror, it's in the senators' heads.

The video ends with the commenter saying that "on the Taliban radio, a certain Nasim does not respond anymore. The rest of the Taliban fighters flee into the valley and is shot at by Afghan Police."

Hat tip CDR Salamander. It's good to have great neighbours.



Groeningekouter 1302A few words about the Dutch presence under NATO-umbrella in Afghanistan. With 2,000 troops, The Netherlands is one of the main contributors to the ca. 20,000 strong ISAF-mission (not counting the ca. 11,000 US troops still operating within the framework of Operation Enduring Freedom - so ISAF and OEF count, taken together, some 31,000 troops). Over the past year, the Taliban have resurged again, mainly in the south, the centre and the east, and while US troops are mostly active in the east, the brunt of the fighting in Afghanistan's centre and its south is borne by the Canadians, the British, the Dutch and the Danes. The Canadians have about 2,000 troops (with armored support of 20 Leopard I-tanks), mainly in the Kandahar region, the British 6,000 (1,500 in Kabul, 4,500 in the southern Helmand province) and the Danes some 400, in Lashkar Gah, Helmand and Kandahar. As for the Dutch mission, four focal points can be distinguished:

a.) URUZGAN PROVINCE - Tarin Kowt.

Dutch Apache LongbowCamp Holland near Tarin Kowt is the biggest Dutch base. Ultimately, some 1,000 Dutch and 400 Australians will be stationed here. The main component of the Dutch troops is infantry: two companies of airmobile and armored infantry, supported by specialists of other branches. Camp Holland is also home to the staff of Task Force Uruzgan, the Provincial Reconstruction Team, and the Apache-detachment (six Apache Longbow helicopters). Medical support is provided by a Role 2 enhanced hospitaal with operation room, intensive care, blood bank, pharmacy and röntgen laboratory.


Dutch Bradley AIFVCamp Hadrian in Deh Rawod is the smallest of the two Dutch bases en lies in Uruzgan's southwest. Hadrian refers to the Roman Emperor who built a wall in England's north (Hadrian's Wall) to keep out the Picts. The Dutch chose for the English spelling to emphasize the cooperation with the international (read Anglosaxon) partners. Camp Hadrian houses some 370 soldiers: one infantry company comprising three airmobile platoons and one armored infantry platoon, supported by specialists from other branches. For patrols the Dutch use Patria wheeled APCs and Bradleys. Artillery support is provided by a mechanized 155mm gun (in Dutch a "pantserhouwitser") and 81mm mortars.

Dutch Armored HowitzerA few words about the newest artillery platform on the Dutch Army's inventory: the "Pantserhouwitser 2000", a literal translation of the German "Panzerhaubitze 2000". The PzH2000 is indeed a German development using the chassis of the trusted Leopard MBT (Main Battle Tank). Specs are: length 11.7 metres, width 3.50 metres, height 3.46 metres; weight is 55.5 tonnes (battle-ready), speed 62 kloms per hour (on hard road, cross-country some 40 kloms per hour). The engine is an eight cilinder diesel developing 1,000 HP. The PzH2000 has a crew of 5 and is armed with a 155mm gun and a machinegun for self-defence. It replaces the old M-109 A2/90 and the improvement over this Cold War era artillery piece is vast: e.g., whereas the 109's range was a mere 18 kilometres, the PzH2000 can throw a charge away over 40 kilometers. The shells weigh 40 to 45 kilograms, but this poses no problem for the crew since charging is automatic. Apart from that, armour and speed are better, cross-country performance too and especially rate of fire. The Dutch Army has currently two Pantserhouwitsers in Afghanistan, of which one was used in September to provide artillery support during the Canadian Medusa operation.


Since August 1, 2006, the Dutch Air Task Force operates from Kandahar Airfield (KAF). Its main components are eight F-16 fighter bombers and five Cougar transport helicopters. Over the past few months, the F-16’s saw a great deal of action. They have proven essential to provide the groundtroops with freedom of movement. Kandahar is also home to the international Regional Command South, an ISAF HQ with 200 Dutch among its staff. Finally, there's also a Logistic Support Element.


Some 60 Dutch are stationed on Kabul International Airport (KAIA).

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