Cablegate: Dutch Cabinet Approves Supplemental Contributions

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: On August 20, the Dutch cabinet decided to
provide to ISAF six F-16 jetfighters and a KDC-10 refueling
aircraft for a period of eight weeks as of mid-September for
the purpose of enhancing security during the presidential
elections in October. If a second round of elections
occurs, the deployment will be extended for an additional
few weeks. The Netherlands will also temporarily supply to
ISAF for the purpose of election support a light infantry
security detachment to assist the PRTs in the provinces of
Kunduz, Baghlan and Takhar. The cabinet further decided to
extend the deployment of an Apache helicopter detachment
made available to ISAF until April 1, 2005, and to provide a
frigate to Operation Enduring Freedom (in the region around
the Arabian Peninsula) for three months in the fourth
quarter of 2004. End Summary.

F-16 and KDC-10

2. Foreign Minister Bot, Defense Minister Kamp and
Development Minister Van Ardenne informed parliament in
writing August 20 that the cabinet had decided to provide
six F-16s and one KDC-10 to ISAF in response to appeals from
President Karzai and UN SYG Kofi Annan to NATO for
supplemental military assistance prior to and during the
upcoming Afghan elections. The ministers wrote that this
deployment satisfied a significant and substantial element
of the supplemental resources identified by the North
Atlantic Council (NAC) as necessary for election support.

3. The F-16s and KDC-10 will be deployed at Manas AFB,
Kyrgyzstan, from where Dutch F-16s operated in the period
October 2002-October 2003 within the framework of Operation
Enduring Freedom. The ministers' letter pointed out that
U.S. forces are based at Manas, and that the U.S. has
promised to allow Royal Air Force to make use of U.S.
facilities. The Dutch detachment will comprise 170 to 210
troops, depending on the amount of support provided by the
U.S. It was observed that the refueling plane alone is not
sufficient to meet the total need for refueling
capabilities. Although NATO has primary responsibility for
the remaining requirement, options are being explored with
the U.S. to use the refueling capabilities of Operation
Enduring Freedom.

4. In view of the fact that the ISAF's mandate is primarily
to assist the Afghan transition government in promoting
security and stability and expanding its authority, the
F-16s will have a two-folded task. They can be used to show
force and to provide close air support to ground forces. On
the basis of agreements on mutual assistance between ISAF
and Operation Enduring Freedom, the F-16s can also be used
to provide assistance to Enduring Freedom forces in an
emergency situation, as is the case with the present Dutch
Apache helicopter detachment in Afghanistan. However, the
ministers stressed to parliament that the F-16s would not be
used for planned Enduring Freedom operations.

5. The rules of engagement of ISAF are based on Chapter VII
of the UN Charter and are "sufficiently robust." In
addition, national targeting guidelines apply to the use of
Dutch jetfighters that are based on the law of war and the
Geneva Conventions, according to the letter.

Apache Helicopters

6. Since the transfer of authority to NATO on March 31,
2004, a Dutch Apache helicopter detachment has operated in
Afghanistan, initially for a period of six months.
According to the GoNL, the experiences with these
helicopters have been very positive, and their presence has
been appreciated by both the ISAF command and troops on the
ground. The helicopters are mainly used for reconnaissance
and the display of visible presence. Occasionally, they
operate outside the ISAF territory. On August 20, the
cabinet decided to extend their deployment for six months.
According to the ministers' letter, a decision to withdraw
the Apaches by the original September 30 date -- shortly
before the October 9 Presidential elections -- would have
run counter to the NATO promise to provide political and
military assistance during the elections. The letter notes
that the helicopters can also provide assistance to the
Dutch PRT in Baghlan as it is being put together and during
its initial operations.

Deployment of Dutch PRT in Baghlan
7. Preparations for the deployment of the Dutch PRT in
Pol-e Khomri in the province of Baghlan are well under way,
according to the ministers' letter. The initial set-up
team of about 60 persons will leave around August 24, and
upon arrival will start building the required facilities.
The initial operational units will leave in early September.
By October 1 at the latest, the PRT will be operational, and
will therefore be prepared to assist the elections on
October 9. The complete buildup operation will foreseeably
be ready by mid-November.

8. In support of the deployment of the PRT in Pol-e Khomri,
a C-130 transport plane of the Royal Air Force will soon be
deployed at Termez AFB, Uzbekistan, for a period of about
six weeks. At the request of Germany, this aircraft will
also provide assistance to the deployment of the German PRT
in the province of Badakshan.

Frigate to assist Operation Enduring Freedom
9. The termination of the F-16 deployment in Manas in
October 2003 marked a provisional end to Dutch contributions
to Operation Enduring Freedom. The letter notes that the
option of a new contribution was, however, always left open.
For that reason, the GoNL expects that the U.S. will welcome
the present Dutch offer to supply a frigate for three months
in the fourth quarter of 2004. Arrangements are still to be
made with the U.S. on details on the nature and term of
deployment. However, it was pointed out, in general terms,
the frigate's tasks and powers will roughly be the same as
those during previous deployments for the benefit of
Enduring Freedom.

Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction
Although the earlier emphasis on humanitarian assistance is
shifting to reconstruction, several humanitarian needs
remain unfulfilled. According to the letter, the
Netherlands has appropriated 15 million Euros for
humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan for the period 2004-
2006. The Netherlands is one of the largest donors of
Afghanistan. In the period 2001-2003, the Netherlands
donated 165 million Euros in aid. At the recent donor
conference, it made the commitment to provide another 100
million Euros in aid in the next three years. The
Netherlands also made a commitment to contribute a total of
75 million Euros, that is 25 million Euros a year, to the
Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF.) The Dutch
contribution to ARTF in 2004 was recently raised with 10
million Euros to 35 million.


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