Soldiers, MPs question friendly fire report

Soldiers and MPs are unhappy with the official report into the friendly fire incident in Afghanistan last month in which four soldiers died, various media report on Wednesday.

The report concluded that there had been tactical errors during the military operation which resulted in the deaths of two Dutch and two Afghan soldiers.
The biggest military union, the AFMP is ‘extremely irritated’ at the four-page letter sent to parliament by defence minister Bert van Middelkoop yesterday, reports NRC Handelsblad.
‘It is a weak letter,’ AFMP chairman Wim van den Burg tells the NRC. ‘The minister himself says that all sorts of important analyses still need to be done. Conclusions are being made too quickly.’
The VBM/NOV union says it is ‘shocked’ at the fact that internal procedures were not followed, adding that this conclusion is not shared by all the soldiers taking part in the UN military mission in southern Afghanistan.
‘The picture emerging from the letter doesn’t match the perception of the soldiers,’ union chairman Jean Debie is quoted as saying.
The Volkskrant reports that MPs too are dissatisfied with the report, saying it creates more questions than it answers and have called for more information.
Opposition Liberal (VVD) MP tells the paper that the report is ‘disturbing’ because it remains unclear whether Dutch soldiers had enough communications equipment to know each other’s positions.
A lack of communications was signalled as a likely cause of the incident by the military union ACOM shortly after the incident in mid January.
Socialist Party MP Krista van Velzen said she was shocked by the findings because the report creates the impression that the incident could have been avoided if proper procedures had been followed.
She and the two main government parties, the Christian Democrats and Labour, have called for more information to be made available over the incident

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