Skip to comments.Dutch NATO troops take Quran on patrols
Posted on 07/22/2006 6:19:53 AM PDT by voletti
Dutch NATO troops taking over military operations from the United States in southern Afghanistan later this month are going out of the way to persuade sceptical locals they are on their side.
The Dutch will still focus on security but we want to win their hearts and minds, Captain Miriam Grandia told reporters on a visit to volatile Uruzgan province on Friday.
We will go out on patrol with the Afghan National Army and will hand out Qurans to show we are not against Islam, added Grandia, one of a 1,400-strong Dutch contingent in the town of Tirin Kot.
The Dutch approach, which also includes running a local radio station, is a radical departure from that of the US troops they replace who concentrated on hunting down Taliban insurgents. Not only did the US tactic run the risk of alienating local public opinion, but it also meant that crucial reconstruction work and efforts to install good local governance took second place.
Uruzgan is one of the strongholds of the Taliban, the place where Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of the hardline Islamist group, was born and where Pashtun tribal code often supplants national law. Yet along with the Canadian and British troops spearheading NATOs move into the south around July 31, the Dutch say their job will not be to go out to hunt and kill the Taliban.
Instead, their main challenge is to prove to a sceptical Dutch public that they are in Afghanistan simply to help the impoverished Muslim state get back on its feet.
It is part of a wider gamble by NATO countries that, even under precarious security conditions, they will kick-start reconstruction enough to win over the Afghans and finally wrest away any lingering support for the Taliban. This is going to cost us 400 million euros ($506 million) over two years. You want to get the reconstruction right for that sort of money, said a Dutch political source who asked not to be identified.
Taliban threat: From next month, the Dutch will launch a series of quick impact projects in Uruzgan concentrated on improving local schools, clinics and administrative offices.
As well as taking over fledgling reconstruction projects initiated under US protection, their biggest single project is to oversee the building of a $23 million segment of a main road eventually hoped to connect much of the country.
At the moment we are doing the reconnaissance. Then there will be tender process - we will be working with local contractors of course, said Grandia.
But the main question for the development effort is, will the Taliban let them?
Uruzgan is listed by NATO as one of the least secure provinces in the country and reconstruction efforts have been held back by trouble. On Monday, a coalition soldier was killed and 11 others wounded in an attack in Tirin Kot district.
Tirin Kot itself is not too bad. But whenever we go out, we will need protection, said Grandia.
Alliance diplomats acknowledge that the violence across the south will inevitably mean any progress in rebuilding infrastructure will be painfully slow.
It is a tremendous challenge when the first conditions for reconstruction and development are not yet met, said one envoy.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said after inspecting the Dutch base on Friday that he was convinced it would be possible to take the first steps on development even amid the upsurge in attacks.
But on the same trip he also acknowledged there would be a limit to what NATO could do while the violence persisted.
For farther-reaching reconstruction to take place, it is advisable to have the basic conditions of security, he said. reuters
They should bring some Islamic cartoons for the kids.
Netherlands will be the firs European Country to submit to Islam.
By the way did the allied troops during the WW2 handled "Mein Kampf" to population of occupied countries?
/Mufti USF mode
Are they short of toilet paper?
The Dutch millitary is somehow strange. Maybe you remember the "Dutchbatters" who helped Mladic to kill a few thousand civillians that they should defend. It would be better if those sissies could shoot holes into Dutch cheese instead of driving through Afghanistan.
As ironic as it is flawed.
Abraham Kuyper spinning in his grave.
More silliness and weakness from the West. Now we are handing out terror manuals to the enemy. The locals will take this as an insult though, just as would Americans if an occupying army of muslims walked around U.S. streets handing out Bibles. Until the West understands islam itself as the fundamental evil that has caused all these wars I guess we are resigned to keep reading about ridiculous stories like this one.
/Mufti USF mode"
I know you're joking, but that is a likely response from the IslamoNazis
This tells me they are clueless Infidels , and haven't bothered to read the Koran themselves. -tom
They better bring plenty of body bags, this has disaster written all over it.
There is a far more effective way to gain their hearts and minds. Was it Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, or John Wayne who first said it?
Is it ever good to lie? The evil of the Koran is so serious, that I am sure that I could not pretend that it is for the good of the people. I feel that it is one of the greatest curses sent upon mankind. It lessens the worth of a human life and man's right to use his "free will"., and it opens the door to endless superstitions.
They should hand out an edited version of the koran to these people, who probably can't read arabic anyway. It could say things like, "befriend the infidel", "love your enemies" and "convert through verbal persuasion". Add a postscript: Muhammad, late in life, told his closest advisers that he made the whole thing up, and asked them to apologize and tell everyone "Never mind". The Arabs decided to keep their slaves and concubines instead, and so today, we still have Islam.
Winning the hearts and minds is the way to work. Perhaps if America read her own history books a little better, they would know that. Remember Vietnam????
And for the dumb guy who said our troops helped Mladic with the killings in Srebrenica, go do you homework....
Can you all please explain why our Dutch approach will not work here?? Because it worked in Iraq. And can you also explain why, when an approach is different from the American one, it always is a wrong approach?? What has your approach reached in Iraq?!?!
And no I'm not against America. I really have respect for your country.
And for the dumb guy
The last Dutch units to fight seriously were their Waffen SS units on the Russian front.
Why not just wear 'Kick Me' signs on their backs?
If they get our troops out they can take little golden books with em for all I care !!!
Hmmm... last time the Dutch tried peacekeeping it was in a little place called Srebrenica.
If they really want to genuinely help these people they would be handing out Bibles. But then, any number of their murderous brethren would slit their throats for even possessing a Bible.
Somehow, I think there are just some people you can't win with. The best you can do is keep them from slitting your throat!
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