Dutch ready to send troop support
THE HAGUE, the Netherlands -- The Dutch are prepared to send up to 1,400 troops and military equipment to help the humanitarian effort in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Wim Kok made the announcement on Friday following a Cabinet meeting, but he added the contingent would not take part in combat action in the U.S.-led military campaign.
Kok said that between 1,200 and 1,400 troops, three frigates, two mine sweepers, a submarine, six F-16 fighters with surveillance equipment, two transport planes and four maritime patrol aircraft would be sent to the region.
The announcement comes after a U.S. request, but a final agreement on the level of Dutch involvement has yet to be made.
"The Dutch contingent will not be involved in any attacks in Afghanistan," he said.
It was not immediately clear where the troops and equipment will be sent.
Wim Kok's ruling three-party coalition supports the U.S.-led campaign to hunt down Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, blamed for the September 11 attacks in Washington and New York.
Earlier this week Italy and Germany also announced troop deployments supporting the campaign.
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