The Netherlands has said it will send combat helicopters and around 380 troops to Mali.
It will be the Dutch forces’ most significant foreign military operation since they were pulled out of Afghanistan in 2010.
Mali imploded last year when Tuareg separatist rebels took up arms in the desert north, triggering a coup by soldiers angry over the government’s handling of the rebellion.
Islamists took advantage of the chaos and seized the north, stoking fears in the West that the zone would become a launch pad for militant attacks and safe haven for criminal gangs operating alongside the various rebel groups.
The Dutch operation will boost a UN peacekeeping mission to stabilise Mali.