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Netherlands Sends Reduced Afghanistan Mission, As Canada Ends Combat Role

Canadian Army soldiers fold the national flag during a ceremony marking the Canadian handover of forward fire base Zangabad to U.S. forces in Kandahar Province on June 19.
The Dutch military is sending 160 soldiers to Afghanistan as part of its new, scaled-down mission to the country.

The troops, mostly support staff for 225 military police trainers, will be deployed to the northern Konduz Province and will be under the protection of German troops.

A total of 545 Dutch soldiers and police trainers will assist NATO in Afghanistan through 2014, a big step back from the Netherlands' previous commitment of 1,600 soldiers.

The bulk of the troops was withdrawn last year after the Dutch government collapsed over whether to extend their deployment.

Meanwhile, Canada ended its combat mission in Afghanistan today after nine years and the death of 157 men.

The departure of nearly 3,000 troops comes as Western forces begin to announce gradual drawdowns of troops ahead of a full withdrawal in 2014.

A separate Canadian training mission involving 950 troops will work in Kabul with Afghan security forces.

compiled from agency reports