I'm Martine, a writer, photographer and researcher who envies the pace of poets and potters. I've been travelling between Kabul and Maastricht, between poetry, fiction and analysis, and between complexity and calm. I’ve spent most of my professional life fascinated by Afghanistan.

After a childhood in pre-revolutionary Iran, I returned to the region as an adult. It felt like I re-discovered a home I’d forgotten I’d lost. I ended up dividing my time between the Netherlands and the rest of the world.

I worked as an aid worker in Grozny, Chechnya, and in Taliban-ruled Kabul; as a diplomat in Tehran for the Dutch Foreign Ministry during 911 and its aftermath; and as an analyst and adviser in Afghanistan, including as political adviser to EU Special Representative Francesc Vendrell, and as an independent analyst advising the Netherlands Embassy on their work in Uruzgan. In 2009 I co-founded the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) where for many years I was co-director and senior analyst.

I rejoined AAN in 2021, after the tumultuous Taliban takeover.

I started a novel while still working in Afghanistan. Like the rest of my work, it grapples with aid, intervention and conflict, and what to do when what you’re trying isn’t working (but leaving will also make things worse). It's also about friendship and daily life and the stories that get left out of the reports. I finished the book and then finished it again. It may need another round. 

I also returned to poetry; my work has started to appear in print and online journals across the world. Find a list of published work here

You can download a brief bio here / reach me here if we need to talk /

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