The Dutch troops in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan will change its strategy this month, which could lead to more fighting with hostile groups, Dutch daily Trouw reported on Monday.
The battle group of the Dutch mission in Uruzgan will patrol around the clock to prevent movement by any gatherings of insurgents, including members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, lieutenant colonel Rob Querido, commander of the battle group, told Trouw.
The battle group is going to operate according to the "amoeba model," named after a single-cell organism, which constantly changes shape. Querido said the Dutch unit will suddenly turn up here and there, with the aim of harassing the insurgents and eventually driving them out.
"That is the key to counterinsurgency: taking the initiative from the hostile groups and removing their freedom of movement," he said.
"By being more mobile we are going to irritate those groups. I expect they will react and that we will have more fighting," he added.
With the amoeba model the main priority of the military mission in Uruzgan will change. Up to now it is the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), which decides where patrols will go, but soon the PRT will follow the battle group and carry out reconstruction where patrols have been.
Querido dismisses criticism from other countries that the Dutch unit is too cautious. The Dutch troops only suffered five casualties in Afghanistan, while the British and Canadian troops have both lost more than 50 soldiers.
"It is absolutely not right to judge our actions by the number of deaths. The battle group is willing to face any risk and if necessary to fight," he said.
The Netherlands currently have about 1,400 troops in Uruzgan, and several hundred deployed elsewhere in the country.
Last Friday the Dutch mission suffered its first combat fatality when a soldier stepped on a landmine in the province of Helmand. The victim was a member of the Air Mobile Brigade, which has been deployed as part of a major offensive by NATO troops and Afghan security forces against Taliban fighters since February.
Before him, the Netherlands had lost four soldiers due to accidents and one who committed suicide.