TARIN KOWT, Afghanistan, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The Netherlands announced its troops are leaving the Afghan war, becoming the first NATO ally to leave the mission just four years after it entered the battle.
The Dutch public has grown wary of the Afghan conflict as concerns over a battered economy took precedence in the country, London's Independent newspaper reports.
The Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the security situation in central Uruzgan province had improved "considerably" since Dutch operations began there in 2006. The province, the ministry said, has 1,600 police officers of its own, a 100 percent gain in four years.
Dutch Gen. Peter van Uhm, who is with the departing Dutch contingent, said that "a lot still had to happen" in the region, however.
There were 1,900 Dutch soldiers operating in Afghanistan. They transferred command over to U.S. and Australia during a weekend ceremony.
In a separate release, the Australian Defense Ministry said a Taliban commander was killed in the province during joint operations with Afghan security forces.
The Defense Ministry said Taliban explosives expert Mullah Dawood was killed during joint operations July 14. Australian Special Forces commanders said they would continue their operations in the region as long as the insurgency is active.