As a NATO member state, the Netherlands participated in ISAF - the security mission to Afghanistan. For four years the dutch took the lead in the southern province of Uruzgan. How do Afghans, veterans and politicians look back? And how do we calculate and judge the impact? Was it worth the fight?

Story

Fifteen years ago the United States of America launched operation Enduring Freedom, the first military endeavour in the war on terror. After the taliban regime (the organization that provided a safe haven to Osama bin Laden, the leader of the Al-Qaida network) had been ousted, the United Nations established a NATO-led security mission. The main purpose for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), was to assist Afghanistan in rebuilding its government and securing it against the taliban insurgency. 

As a NATO member state, the Netherlands also participated in ISAF. For four years  - from December 2006 to December 2010 - the Netherlands were the leading nation in the southern province of Uruzgan. Task Force Uruzgan, as this deployment was called, represents the largest military operation in Dutch history since 1949, the war of independence in Indonesia. Tens of thousands of troops set foot on the ground in this region, manning bases near Tarin Kowt (Kamp Holland, now the Multinational Base Tarin Kowt) and Deh Rahwod (Camp Hadrian).

 

Don't exactly remember this recent history? Check out this summary:

Summary

 

Concept

The project centred around two documentaries. They can be seen here. The episodes fueled the debate about the mission in general and the part of the Netherlands in particular. Reason enough to dedicate a whole Late Night Show (Pauw) on the documentary. 

 

Revealing

The research revealed that the political evaluation was biased: based on unverifiable data, edited by the Dutch embassy, without a proper control system on the data collectors and not meant to be an evaluation of the whole mission. Full article here (in Dutch).  

 

Follow-up

Publications

Onze Missie in Afghanistan (documentary)
VARABNN 

Het enige publieke rapport rammelt
De Correspondent

Series of background articles
Dedicated website

Credits

Co-production with BNNVARA, Palermofilm and Lighthouse Reports.

Special thanks to Sinan Can and Thomas Blom

Lighthouse Reports:

Production
Lisa Dupuy, Wali Hashimi

Project lead
Ludo Hekman

Research 
Ludo Hekman, Cor van der Leemputten, Lisa Dupuy, Klaas van Dijken, Sinan Can, Thomas Blom

Editorial team
Cor van der Leemputten, Lisa Dupuy, Klaas van Dijken, Ludo Hekman, Thomas Blom

Development
XNY / Michiel van der Ros
Sugarfree / Jannes Glas
Daan Heuvingh

Financial partners
BNNVARA
Digital News Initiative (Google)