The Portuguese Special Operations Forces as Instrument of Foreign Policy: The Case Study of Afghanistan

  • João ReisEmail author
  • Sofia Menezes
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 152)


The aim of this paper is to provide an exploratory overview of the Portuguese special operations forces as instrument of foreign policy. In doing so, we disclose new dynamics that Portugal employing in fragile states and we discuss its implications for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The research methodological approach falls into a qualitative case study research, which includes more than one method of data collection for triangulation and corroboration purposes. We have found that Portugal is trying to intensify its international relations within the EU, UN and the NATO, while the Portuguese special operations forces have been playing an important role to strengthen its presence within these international institutions. The new dynamics that Portugal is seeking are based on the democratic values, the rule of law and the human rights, to dissociate itself from the colonial legacy and thereby find new avenues of influence. Further research should focus on the new strategic priorities for the Afghan Government and NATO, as these priorities are changed at a relatively fast pace.


Portugal Afghanistan Special operations forces Foreign policy Case study research European Union United Nations North Atlantic Treaty Organization 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Military ScienceMilitary Academy, GOVCOPPLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Management and LeadershipCINAMILLisbonPortugal

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