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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03THEHAGUE3002 2003-12-03 13:45:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

DUTCH MAY DEPLOY APACHES IN SUPPORT OF ISAF

Tags:   MOPS MARR PREL AF NL NATO 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 003002 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/02/2013
TAGS: MOPS MARR PREL AF NL NATO
SUBJECT: DUTCH MAY DEPLOY APACHES IN SUPPORT OF ISAF

REF: A. STATE 323022

B. THE HAGUE 2911

C. THE HAGUE 2726

Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL COUNSELOR MARY DALY FOR REASONS
1.5 (B AND D).



1. (C) Summary: Dutch Defense Minister Kamp informed
parliament on December 2 the GONL is investigating deploying
four Apache attack helicopters to Afghanistan in support of
ISAF. Kamp's decision, which came following a request from
Lord Robertson during the December 1 NATO Defense Ministers'
meeting, caught Dutch MOD and MFA staffers by surprise. The
GONL has been reviewing various options for on the ground
involvement in Afghanistan for several months, but not
helicopters. The Cabinet is expected to take up the matter
on December 12. A positive decision by the Cabinet will then
go to parliament for debate, which is likely to take place
before the Christmas recess. Previous opposition calls for
expanding ISAF's presence as well as the fact that this a
NATO (and UNSCR endorsed) mission should help in securing
parliamentary support for the deployment. End Summary.



2. (U) Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp notified the Dutch
parliament on December 2 that the GONL will investigate the
possibility of deploying four Dutch Air Force Apache AH-64
attack helicopters to Afghanistan in support of NATO ISAF
operations. Kamp took this step in response to a request
from Lord Robertson at the December 1 NATO Defense Ministers'
meeting. The Dutch were also asked to make available
transport helicopters; however, Kamp declined as most of the
Dutch Air Force's Chinook transport helicopters are being
used to support the Dutch deployment to Iraq as part of the
UK's Multi-National Division Southeast.



3. (C) In subsequent discussions, GONL officials claimed to
PolMilOff that Robertson's request and Kamp's accession came
as a surprise. The GONL has been contemplating various
options for further involvement on the ground in Afghanistan
for some time now (reftels). These options include:
deployment of Dutch Army special forces commandos in support
of OEF, participation in the German-led PRT at Konduz or
assisting in managing Kabul Airport. Among the reasons for
the lack of a decision to date include: concerns about
possible Guantanamo-implications should Dutch SOF detain Al
Qaeda/Taliban members as well as the "murky relationship
between OEF, ISAF and the PRTs." An MFA Security Policy
Bureau contact advised PolMilOff these potential
contributions are still "on the table" even after Kamp's
offer of Apaches. An MOD policy advisor said it was
important to note Kamp feels strongly that when NATO
specifically directs a country to provide an asset, it should
try and accommodate the request, and that voluntary force
generation is not working. According to the same MOD
staffer, Kamp said he thought SACEUR (whom he met with on a
November 24 visit to The Hague) should be able to direct
specific requests from countries.



4. (C) Kamp's letter to parliament represents the first
formal step in GONL action on the NATO request. MFA source
advises that a Cabinet decision is expected on December 12.
In the interim, MOD source says that GONL officials need to
obtain clarity on the planned role of the Apaches. A
positive cabinet decision will then be notified to parliament
which will debate the issue, presumably before the Christmas
recess. (Note: in the Dutch system, a formal parliamentary
vote of approval is not necessary; however, MPs could table a
resolution of disapproval, but would only do so if they
thought it likely to pass.)



5. (C) Comment: Given the repeated concerns raised among the
allies about ISAF shortfalls, Dutch officials may be
protesting too much when they claim surprise at Robertson's
request. While approval is not guaranteed at this point,
Kamp is a skilled operator who would be unlikely to make this
commitment if he did not think he could deliver (MOD source
advises he took the decision after consulting with the PM's
office, MFA and the Dutch Air Force). While the main
opposition Labor Party's foreign affairs spokesman expressed
some initial concerns with the proposed deployment, others in
his party after visiting Afghanistan have previously called
for expanding the ISAF mandate. In addition, MFA sources
concede that the fact this is a NATO mission covered by a
specific UN Security Council Resolution should help in
achieving parliamentary support. End Comment.
SOBEL