Before Dutch troops arrived there in 2006 as part of what was supposed to be a reconstruction mission, I was present in the Afghan province of Uruzgan. I patrolled the town of Tarin Kowt alone, on foot, and patrolled the wider area around what was then called Camp Ripley with American and Afghan military personnel. Long days, I roamed what I judged an enchanting environment, in which the local population lived relatively peaceful, authentic lives.
The arrival of Dutch troops heralded the end of the peaceful of the lives of the local population in Uruzgan. Violence, mainly on the part of Dutch troops, increased from day to day and culminated in the so called battle of Chora and the refugee drama of Deh Rawod.
Not four months, like most Dutch soldiers, but two years, I served in Uruzgan. From the diaries I kept, I distilled the book Unpredictable past, which recounts my first ten months in Uruzgan. The book led to parliamentary questions, investigations into the conduct of Dutch military personnel, and lawsuits against the state.
Available in English soon.