The Netherlands presence in Afghanistan lasted almost twenty years. The Dutch contributed air, maritime, ground, and special forces military forces to the effort to establish a democratic and stable Afghan government. This effort began in 2002 and lasted until 2021.
ISAF. Initially the deployment of Dutch troops was a part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that began in 2002 and lasted until the end of 2014. The ISAF mission was a combination of training and advising as well as combat operations against the Taliban
Resolute Support. In January 2015 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) began the Resolute Support Mission (RSM). This lasted until 2021. The RSM focused on training, advising, and assisting members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). The Netherlands contributed advisors, staff officers, force protection units, and logistical and medical support staff to the RSM.
In March 2023 the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a report entitled Between Wish and Reality: Evaluation of the Dutch Contribution to Resolute Support. This 70-page report (PDF) contains the results of a study of the Dutch contribution to RSM. The report summarizes its conclusions and provides several recommendations for future mission contributions.
Some of the findings include:
- The main objective of RSM was not achieved after the mission ended
- During the mission, RSM was also not on track to achieve its objectives
- The Netherlands contributed to a limited extent to achieving the objectives of RSM
- Many different factors limited the effectiveness of the mission
- The progress of the mission was presented too positively
- Dutch grounds for participation were too ambitious and insufficiently substantiated
The report is very well organized, beginning with an introduction and background, providing a factual description of RSM and the Dutch contribution, the achievement of RSM objectives, explanatory factors, lessons to be learned, and conclusions. A good read for those interested in the Resolute Support Mission and the Dutch contribution to that mission.
Between Wish and Reality: Evaluation of the Dutch Contribution to Resolute Support, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 2023, PDF, 70 pages.