Now that the Taskforce Uruzgan is returning to the Netherlands, there is a need for critical reflection: what are the concrete results of the Dutch mission? Is the Dutch approach indeed ‘special’? Was it ‘worth it’ to lose 24 soldiers? HealthNet TPO director Willem van de Put shares his vision on the results and distinguishes the ‘special’ part in the ‘special Dutch approach’.
Although the Dutch had good intensions (especially the overall attitude toward the Afghan population, understanding of the context and serious attempt to support good governance in the province), the situation has not solely improved in Uruzgan. In many ways there are more similarities than differences with other ISAF members: there has not been a significant increase in security with continued attacks by ‘insurgents’. With regard to development and reconstruction, the model of ‘provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) proved to be a miss with mixed roles for NGOs and the military. Dutch policymakers in Afghanistan last year were seduced into believing the U.S. flattery regarding the integration of the good governance practices. Furthermore, there are still local conflicts; there is still a lack of good governance; and there are still too many people suffering from fear, loss and chaos.
This critical statement was released in order to show a more complete picture of the situation. You can find the (Dutch) articles here: Telegraaf, Trouw, RTL Nieuws (broadcast 7.30pm 8/1/2010), Parool, Algemeen Dagblad, Spits, Metro, Gelderlander, Nederlands Dagblad.