Dutch to Contribute Troops

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Friday, Nov. 9, 2001

Dutch to Contribute Troops

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - The Netherlands will contribute at least 1,200 troops to the war on terrorism, the government said Friday, joining Germany and Italy, who agreed this week to send forces.

Prime Minister Wim Kok said the Dutch would make good on earlier promises to ``act in deeds, not words'' and had agreed to a request from Washington to provide assistance to the international military coalition.

The Dutch military support comes two days after neighboring Germany said it would provide 3,900 troops to the Western alliance - a move that is threatening the stability of the German government.

In Italy, lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the deployment of 2,700 troops in a rare show of bipartisanship.

It wasn't immediately clear where the Dutch troops would be sent, but the forces would not participate in combat operations, Kok said. He said from 1,200 to 1,400 troops would be sent.

``We are discussing the details with the Americans,'' Kok told a news conference.

Defense Minister Frank de Grave warned that there is always a risk of casualties in military operations.

Six F-16 fighter planes, several transport aircraft, four Orion search planes, a refueling plane, three frigates, two minesweepers and a submarine have been made available, de Grave said.

Until now, the Dutch contribution to the international coalition has been limited to 40 air force personnel and two frigates.

High-level talks on Dutch participation began with U.S. military officials two weeks ago.

The ruling three-party Dutch coalition government broadly supports the bombing campaign in Afghanistan, with only a couple of small opposition parties voicing concerns.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 09, 2001

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