Basic fact: Dutch troops in Afghanistan

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Now let's get a brief introduction to the Dutch mission in Afghanistan.

It is among the top 10 contributing nations to the NATO-led Afghanistan mission. The Dutch deployment began in 2006 and is scheduled to end this August. Most of the 1,600 soldiers are stationed in Uruzghan province. So far 21 soldiers have been killed.

Recently NATO asked the Netherlands to investigate the possibility of a longer stay as the alliance seeks to contain the Taliban insurgency, which triggered the cabinet crisis.

An Afghan boy looks back while Dutch soldiers patrol a village of Chora valley in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan on January 21. The US envoy to NATO has urged the Netherlands to keep its troops in volatile southern Afghanistan, saying that 2010 is a pivotal year for the international military effort there. (AFP/File/Deshakalyan Chowdhury)

An Afghan boy looks back while Dutch soldiers patrol a village of Chora valley in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan on January 21. The US envoy to NATO has urged the Netherlands to keep its troops in volatile southern Afghanistan, saying that 2010 is a pivotal year for the international military effort there. 

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