Afghanistan - Building a State to Keep the Peace
Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, Vol. 9 (2005) pp. 373-456
84 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2014
Date Written: March 1, 2005
The American decision to remove the Taliban government from power suddenly opened a window of opportunity for the resolution of the long Afghan conflict. The resulting United Nations brokered settlement and the subsequent reconstruction process remained in many respects a sui generis mission. Partly this is due to the peculiar nature of the Afghan conflict, which required a particularly careful, non-intrusive approach. Also of importance is, however, that the peace process has run parallel – and often been subservient – to the ongoing American-led “war on terror”.
These two factors, namely Afghan sensibilities and American military necessities, have affected the peace process in numerous ways and required a number of carefully orchestrated compromises. The concessions that have been necessary in this respect have been forcefully decried by both domestic and international non-governmental organizations and the media, focusing in particular on the continued heavy involvement of former warlords in the government, the lack of security, and the international unwillingness to extent robust peace-keeping beyond Kabul. While much of this criticism is logically consistent, and normatively plausible, it does not take into account the existing political and military realities that heavily constrain the limits within which a political settlement can be pursued.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation