Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dutch soldiers not to be prosecuted


Dutch soldiers not to be prosecuted for high civilian death toll in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch public prosecution department has decided not to prosecute Dutch soldiers for using heavy artillery in a battle in Afghanistan in which many Afghan civilians were killed, Dutch paper De Volkskrant reported Tuesday.

During the clashes between Dutch troops and Taliban fighters near the town of Chora in June of last year, between 50 and 80 civilians were killed, some of them by heavy arms fire.

The Department said Monday that the Dutch troops operated within the limits of humanitarian laws of war and the prevailing rules of engagement...

In the battle of Chora, Dutch troops fended off an offensive of hundreds of Taliban fighters with the help of heavy artillery, F16aircraft and Apache fighter helicopters.

But scores of civilians were killed in the fight, some hit by Dutch fire and others allegedly killed by the Taliban.

Last year, the commander of the NATO force in Afghanistan criticized the Dutch for using excessive force. (link)

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