August 4, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Dutch F-16 jets saw action last week in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Dutch fully armed F-16AM's on a mission over Afghanistan
The jets were called in after a ground unit of coalition troops was attacked on Monday. Once it was established there were no civilians in the area, the jets released two laser-guided bombs. The firing from the enemy position stopped but it not known if there were any casualties.
Around 1,500 Dutch troops under the command of Brigadier-General Ton van Loon are in the region, 400 of them at Tarin Kowt and a further 100 at Deh Rawod.
The main body of troops - more than 900 men and women - are based at Kandahar airfield, while the eight F-16s are stationed in Kabul.
In a 10-day operation in mid-July, Dutch troops, fighting alongside US and other forces, took on insurgents in the Baluchi Valley not far from the Dutch base at Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan Province.
The Dutch claimed 18 Taliban killed without loss. The full firepower of the Dutch contingent was deployed so next to the F-16 fighters there were also Apache helicopters, armoured vehicles and groundtroops participating.