Dutch troops in major Uruzgan operation

Some 800 Dutch, Australian and Afghan troops are engaged in a major operation in the Baluchi valley in the southern Afghan region of Uruzgan, the defence ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The aim of the operation, which is under Dutch command, is to establish a permanent presence for the UN mission and the Afghan government in the valley, the ministry said.
The operation, named Tura Ghar, began on January 10. So far there have been no deaths but seven Afghan soldiers have been injured and one Dutch soldier was bitten by a dog, the ministry said.
The valley is an important link between the towns of Tarin Kowt and Chora.
The Netherlands has some 1,700 soldiers in Afghanistan and is scheduled to pull out in August 2010. However, parliament is currently confused by conflicting messages from the defence minister on whether this will actually happen.

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