Unprecedented tragedy

A roadside bomb attack on a patrol of Dutch soldiers killed the son of the Netherlands’ top military officer, a day after his father took command of his country’s armed forces. Lieutenant Dennis van Uhm, 23, son of General Peter van Uhm, was one of two Dutch soldiers killed in the explosion. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende called Lieutenant van Uhm’s death “an unprecedented tragedy” and said the Dutch cabinet meeting had been briefly halted so ministers could reflect privately.There was no immediate comment from General van Uhm, who took up a new job as the overall commander of the Dutch military a day before his son’s death.The Dutch are fighting alongside American, British and Canadian troops at the forefront of NATO’s battles with the Taliban and other insurgents in southern Afghanistan. Other NATO nations including Germany, Italy and Spain are based in the relatively safe north and west.

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