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.