Dutch, French soldiers killed in blast in southern Afghanistan, local interpreter also killed

Two coalition soldiers from the Netherlands and France, and an Afghan interpreter, were killed in an attack in southern Afghanistan on Saturday afternoon, according to officials.

“This afternoon around 1 p.m. Afghan time, a Dutch Mercedes Benz vehicle was struck by an attack with an improvised device,” Peter van Uhm, the Commander of the Dutch armed forces, told reporters in The Hague. He said 25-year-old Corporal Luc Janzen from the Netherlands was killed in the attack.

A Captain from the French Army, as well as an Afghan interpreter working with NATO, were also killed in the attack, according to the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy. “The President of the Republic has learned with great emotion of the death of a captain of the 3rd Engineering Regiment of Charleville Mezieres,” a spokesperson for Sarkozy said. “The officer paid with his life to the commitment of France in the service of peace and security for the Afghan people.”

The name of the French soldier was not immediately released.

Four other Dutch soldiers were also injured in the attack, including two soldiers who sustained serious injuries. “All wounded soldiers are in a stable condition,” Van Uhm said. “The families have been informed.”

Janzen was part of a Quick Reaction Force, which provides assistance to other troops. The force was called in after a joint Afghan-French patrol found an improvised explosive device (IED) about 10 kilometers east of Deh Rawod, in the country’s Uruzgan province. After the force had disabled the IED, they were struck by another IED as they left the scene.

The death brings the total number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year to at least 205, according to a BNO News count based on official data.

On April 17, two Dutch Marines were killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in southern Afghanistan. They were identified as 29-year-old Jeroen Houweling and 23-year-old Marc Harders.