General Says Rule of Law Needed to Stop Taliban

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2011 — To stop the Tal­iban and ter­ror­ists, Afghans must have con­fi­dence in their government’s abil­i­ty to deliv­er jus­tice and resolve civ­il dis­putes, the com­man­der of a “rule of law” force in Afghanistan said today.
Speak­ing with Pen­ta­gon reporters via video tele­con­fer­ence, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Mar­tins said the Afghan gov­ern­ment must deliv­er on estab­lish­ing the rule of law in Afghan provinces, dis­tricts and sub­dis­tricts.

Afghan offi­cials need to craft “sound gov­er­nance that will enable an endur­ing tran­si­tion of secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty to Afghan forces and deny this rugged coun­try as a sanc­tu­ary for glob­al threats,” the gen­er­al said. 

Fail­ure, he said, could dupli­cate con­di­tions found in Afghanistan after the fall of the com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment in 1991. 

“It’s worth recall­ing that there were core griev­ances 20 years ago in the Afghanistan of the ear­ly 1990s that spawned and sub­se­quent­ly empow­ered the Tal­iban, lead­ing to the open­ing of this land as a safe haven for al-Qai­da,” Mar­tins said. “One of these griev­ances was the inabil­i­ty of the post-com­mu­nist Afghan gov­ern­ments to estab­lish a foun­da­tion at the sub­na­tion­al level.” 

The gov­ern­ment dis­solved, and local war­lords fought des­per­ate­ly for con­trol. The fight­ing fueled hatred as the war­lords sought to com­pel obe­di­ence through the use of force in sup­port of bla­tant self-inter­est, Mar­tins not­ed. “Under such con­di­tions,” he said, “even the harsh and repres­sive forms of dis­pute res­o­lu­tion and dis­ci­pline, adver­tised by the Tal­iban as jus­tice, seemed a tol­er­a­ble alternative.” 

Afghanistan has 34 provinces and 369 dis­tricts, and the local and provin­cial gov­ern­ments are weak. Mar­tins said his rule of law field force helps Afghan offi­cials estab­lish rule-of-law “green zones” in recent­ly cleared areas in Afghanistan. The com­mand works with coali­tion and Afghan mil­i­tary and police units, as well as coali­tion civil­ian offi­cials from the Unit­ed States, Cana­da, the Unit­ed King­dom, the Euro­pean Union, the Unit­ed Nations and oth­er com­mit­ted inter­na­tion­al donors. 

The Afghan gov­ern­ment is in the lead, Mar­tins said, and the com­mand falls under the aegis of the Unit­ed Nations. 

Mar­tins focused on the unit’s efforts in Kan­da­har City. Coali­tion and Afghan forces, he said, cleared the west­ern part of the city of Tal­iban fight­ers. Now, they’re work­ing to hold the area, which hous­es the Afghan government’s Sara­posa deten­tion facil­i­ty, often held up by crit­ics as a sym­bol of the government’s ineffectiveness. 

“In 2008, some 400 Tal­iban pris­on­ers escaped in a dar­ing day­light attack,” Mar­tins said. “Assas­si­na­tions of inves­ti­ga­tors, bribery of pros­e­cu­tors, intim­i­da­tion of jus­tices and attacks upon wit­ness­es have cor­rupt­ed the sys­tem and obscured both evi­dence and law.” 

The deten­tion facil­i­ty now is part of a rule-of-law green zone, Mar­tins said. The secure area is “pro­ject­ing crim­i­nal jus­tice, as well as medi­a­tion and civ­il-dis­pute res­o­lu­tion, to out­ly­ing dis­tricts” as the Chel Zeena Crim­i­nal Inves­tiga­tive Cen­ter, he added. 

“The imme­di­ate goal of Chel Zeena is to con­duct pro­fes­sion­al, evi­dence-based inves­ti­ga­tions, and inde­pen­dent, law-gov­erned pros­e­cu­tions of the indi­vid­u­als detained in the new­ly refur­bished Sara­posa pre­tri­al deten­tion facil­i­ty adja­cent to it,” Mar­tins said. 

The Chel Zeena Cen­ter fea­tures effi­cient offices, around-the-clock light­ing and util­i­ties, admin­is­tra­tive facil­i­ties, evi­dence and hear­ing rooms, as well as pro­tec­tive hous­ing for inves­ti­ga­tors, pros­e­cu­tors, guards and cler­i­cal per­son­nel. These peo­ple are con­stant­ly in dan­ger, the gen­er­al said, and the com­plex gives them the chance to do their jobs safe­ly. Afghanistan is estab­lish­ing rule of law green zones in oth­er provin­cial cen­ters, he said, with link­age to pro­tec­tive zones for out­ly­ing districts. 

“This hub-and-spoke link­age between green zones in key provinces and dis­tricts is help­ing to cre­ate a sys­tem of jus­tice at the sub­na­tion­al lev­el,” Mar­tins said. 

“It takes a net­work to defeat a net­work,” he con­tin­ued. “The result­ing improve­ments in dis­trict gov­er­nance can help dis­place the Tal­iban and pre­vent their return by offer­ing less arbi­trary dis­pute res­o­lu­tion and dis­pelling fear among the population.” 

The efforts don’t cost much and are achiev­able and sus­tain­able, the gen­er­al said. 

“The strength­en­ing of tra­di­tion­al dis­pute res­o­lu­tion at the local lev­el is one of the most effi­cient and effec­tive ways to achieve the kind of secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty that can enable tran­si­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ty to the Afghan gov­ern­ment and its forces, and pro­tect our own core nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests,” Mar­tins said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →