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Vacature Senior Researcher The Netherlands deployment in Afghanistan: "The National Context"

Gepubliceerd op 21 oktober 2022
For the research into the Netherlands’ deployment in Afghanistan in the years 2001-2021, the NIOD is looking for a senior researcher who will study the national context of this deployment for the long-term and in broad historical context. It is a full-time position for 4 years, 38 hours per week.

Since December 2001, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has made multiple contributions to international military operations, crisis management measures, humanitarian actions and (re-)construction projects in and around Afghanistan. It has particularly done so through military detachments and deployments – under the banners of operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) –, through the Netherlands embassy in Kabul, and through support to governmental and non-governmental initiatives and assistance programmes. The Netherlands’ Council of Ministers commissioned the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD-KNAW), in cooperation with the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH), to conduct external, independent and scholarly research into the Netherlands’ deployments in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021.

The research programme aims to investigate and analyse the facts, circumstances and context, and aftermath of this deployment from a broader historical framework, and deals with the nature, scope, costs, time period, and stated objectives of the Netherlands’ military, diplomatic and civil deployment, as well as the limitations, dilemmas and choices made in implementations on the ground. The study is organised around three themes: (a) the national and international decision-making processes; (b) the Netherlands’ integrated deployment in situ; and (c) the legitimisation of the Netherlands’ missions in a broader historical context. The research programme consists of 9 individual scholarly studies on specific themes, including 5 military mission-related studies, and will conclude with a synthesising final report, which will be presented to the Netherlands’ Government and Parliament.

About the position

The NIOD-KNAW is currently recruiting an experienced senior researcher to complete the team. The newly recruited senior researcher will set up, carry out and finalise one individual study within the research programme, in close cooperation with the scientific project leaders, the other senior researchers and the research assistants.

In broad preliminary terms, the newly recruited senior researcher is to conduct a study that should consider the National Context of the Netherlands’ deployments in Afghanistan in the long-term perspective, and in broader historical context. This study concerns – among other things – (1) the historically evolved Netherlands’ view on, among others, war, peace and security, humanitarian crises and intervention, development cooperation, (re)construction, democratisation processes, and human rights and justice, (2) the Netherlands’ self-image and foreign image of the Dutch, and (3) the actual Netherlands’ action on post-war international issues. Part of this study includes an empirical case study on the diplomatic and state-building activities of the Netherlands’ embassy in Kabul.

The newly recruited senior researcher is expected to partake in the final determination of the research questions/direction, sources and methodology, and research plan. The newly recruited senior researcher will work with a research assistant.


  • The NIOD-KNAW is looking for a senior researcher with demonstrable qualifications, experience, capacities and ambitions;
  • The newly recruited senior researcher will become part of the Research Department of the NIOD and will closely cooperate with the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH);
  • The newly recruited senior researcher answers directly to the programme manager and scientific project leaders;
  • The newly recruited senior researcher is expected to be an excellent and sociable team player, and to substantively partake in the entire collaborative Research Project/Inquiry and contribute to the final report;
  • The newly recruited senior researcher is furthermore expected to be able to act as a leader within their individual study, in terms of setting up, planning, carrying out and finalising the scholarly research, and supervision of research assistants.


  • A completed PhD dissertation (history, anthropology, sociology, security studies, international relations/political science) on a topic related to the position, or strong relevant and demonstrated experience;
  • A strong internationally orientated research profile, with a minimum of 5 years of research experience;
  • Demonstrated expertise and clear vision on empirical, archival and analytical historical research;
  • Entrepreneurial and independent attitude, and strong organisational skills, in terms of research;
  • Ability to swiftly and independently gain knowledge, skills and competences;
  • Ability to work under the pressure of the tight deadlines of the research programme;
  • Demonstrated experience with using (classified) primary sources, archives, oral history;
  • Ability to condense and synthesise complex information, both qualitative and quantitative, from multiple primary (including classified) sources;
  • Demonstrated experience in writing high-quality and accessible research, and/or project reports and deliverables (in Dutch and/or English);
  • Research experience regarding Afghanistan (or the region) is a strong asset;
  • Excellent knowledge and command of Dutch and English, and preferably knowledge of a third relevant language regarding Afghanistan or the region;
  • Extensive relevant network at home and abroad;
  • Flexible, proactive and result-oriented attitude;
  • Willingness and flexible ability to travel abroad;
  • Willingness and ability to undergo a security clearance procedure carried out by the Netherlands’ Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) and the Netherlands’ General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD);
  • Excellent standard IT-skills and experience.

The full job description including terms of employment and the opportunity to apply can be found here on Academic Transfer. The application deadline is 5 December 2022.

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