Research programme

‘The Netherlands and Afghanistan 2001-2021' is the first Dutch overarching, historical-scientific study done on this theme.

We study the role of the Netherlands in the context of an international war situation: why the Netherlands was active in Afghanistan, how political and military decisions were made, why certain choices were or were not made, how they were legitimised and their impact and consequences for Afghanistan and in the Netherlands.

Research objective

The research aims to clarify, reconstruct and interpret the context of the Dutch presence in Afghanistan based on scholarly source research. This is further explained in the research brief (in Dutch).

The research aims to paint an insightful picture of this period. We analyse the course of events in general and the effects of the Dutch presence in Afghanistan in particular. An important part of the study concerns the Dutch military missions on the ground. We study the political-international context and do so from Afghan, international and Dutch perspectives.


'The Netherlands and Afghanistan 2001-2021' consists of nine substudies of which the results will be published in nine separate books. An overarching final work will compile the final results of the research to provide insight into the intervention by the international coalition, its context and consequences, and the role of the Netherlands in it. The nine substudies as well as the final work will be published as books in both Dutch and English.

We study a large number of primary sources to reconstruct the reasons for and events during the Dutch presence in Afghanistan. We also study the literature and gather information from a large group of stakeholders, including Afghans, veterans, policy makers and civilian professionals, to analyse topics from different perspectives.

Implementing institutes

The research programme is jointly conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH) and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, commissioned by the Dutch government.