THE HAGUE, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch troops ended Sunday it' s four years mission in Afghanistan and handed over the responsibility in the Afghan province of Uruzgan to the U.S. and Australia, makes the Netherlands the first NATO member to leave Afghanistan.
|Dutch General Kees van den Heuvel (L) and U.S. Army Colonel James Creighton are |
seen during the transfer of authority from the Netherlands to the U.S. and
Australia in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan August 1, 2010.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
According to the Dutch Defense Ministry, the Dutch troops had 24 casualties and 140 injuries during the last four years. "But we have brought the people of Uruzgan major improvements."
"It hurts because it marks the end of the Dutch leading role in Afghanistan, I want to say goodbye to the people here we have intensive cooperated with and whom we have shared the friendship we built together," the Commander of the Task Force Uruzgan (TFU) Kees van den Heuvel said.
"The international community and NATO to help Afghanistan stand on its own legs, so the country can defend itself against extremists who want to use the country as a breeding ground for global terrorism," The Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Sunday. "Netherlands has taken responsibility, and their shoulders to put security and reconstruction in Afghanistan. "
The Dutch government collapsed February over disagreements on extending the country's military mission in Afghanistan.