An 11th soldier, 20-year old Tim Hoogland, died in Afghanistan on Thursday evening and is the first Dutch soldier to be killed by a Taliban bullet.
Jan Kleian, chairman of the military trade union VBM/NOV, told ANP news service that the death of Hoogland might be easier for his colleagues to cope with than previous deaths because he was killed in active fighting rather than through the ‘cowardly’ action of a land mine.
Hoogland’s death was announced by prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende during the parliamentary debate on the budget. He was stationed at the Dutch base at Deh Rawod in the southern province of Uruzgan.
Marlies Verhoef, spokeswoman for the AFMP soldiers’ union said the death was ‘extremely sad’ but must be seen as separate from the question of whether Dutch troops should remain in Afghanistan. ‘We are against the extension of the mission but for other reasons,’ she told ANP.
The government is currently considering whether Dutch troops will remain in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission after its current mandate expires in 2008.
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