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Defense allegedly did nothing with warnings about Afghan civilian deaths | NOW

Dutch soldiers in Uruzgan were warned by allies both before and during the bombing of the Afghan city and region of Chora in 2007 about the high risk of civilian casualties. Defense, however, ignored those warnings de Volkskrant Saturday based on state secret documents. Ultimately, some 50 to 80 Afghan civilians were killed in the bombing. Defense does not want to elaborate on it.

What was the Netherlands doing in Uruzgan again?

  • The Netherlands was on a NATO mission in the Afghan province of Uruzgan from 2006 to 2010.
  • The military had to ensure stability and security in the country, after the Taliban movement had held power for years (with great violence).
  • During the mission, the Taliban had passed its peak of power, but by no means disappeared from the country. There was still regular fighting against the Taliban.

Defense has always said it was a fight against “eight hundred to a thousand” Taliban fighters, including accidental civilian casualties. The secret documents, those de Volkskrant could see thanks to an appeal to the Government Information (Public Access) Act (Wob), however, it shows that the Netherlands consciously took a risk.

Up to three times the military ignored warnings from NATO headquarters in the city of Kandahar, according to the log of the time. The Dutch could not clearly see whether the bombs they dropped on Taliban fighters or on civilians.

Under war law, the Dutch are only allowed to fire (or in this case: drop bombs) if they themselves are first threatened. NATO therefore doubted that. Earlier, the Dutch legal adviser had also warned about possible civilian casualties.

‘Warned as many citizens as possible’

On Monday, a case by four Afghan relatives against the Dutch State will be brought. They are seeking damages because, according to their lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, excessive violence was used and it was not clear why their houses were bombed, according to the newspaper..

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Because of this substantive procedure, the Ministry of Defense does not yet want to discuss the substance of the Volkskrantreporting, Major Peter de Bock told He does refer to an earlier report on about the case, which states that executions were imminent among the local population.

“Independent investigations by the UN, NATO and the Afghan parliament have previously indicated that Dutch military personnel have complied with the humanitarian law of war. Defense also reached that conclusion. The Public Prosecution saw no reason to investigate the case further,” said Defence.

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