Opportunity structures affecting the MOLTs: An analysis of how internal and external features of the larger context affected the operational actions of the Military Observation and Liaison Teams during the Netherlands Provincial Reconstruction Team mission in Baghlan, Afghanistan.
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The aim of this study is to evaluate how the contextual opportunity structures in which the Dutch Military Observation and Liaison Teams (MOLTs), later Mission Teams (MTs) operated, affected the operational actions of the MOLTs during the Netherlands Provincial Reconstruction Team (1(NL)PRT) mission in the North-Afghan province Baghlan from 2004 till 2006. Although the PRT consisted of different elements, the focus is on the MOLTs, because these teams were seen as the primary carriers of the Netherlands PRT mission. They were the eyes and ears of the Netherlands PRT. The MOLTs operated in a larger structural context in which different contextual features hindered or facilitated the operational actions of the MOLTs. This ‘affect’ is explained in terms of mechanisms and processes to get a deeper understanding of how and why there was an ‘affect’. Although the concept of opportunity structures is mainly focused on external factors that hindered or facilitated actions, this study shows also features that appear inside the MOLT or PRT organization hindered or facilitated operational actions. During the mission, a significant shift has taken place in how internal and external features of the opportunity structures affected the operational actions of the MOLTs.