War and Enemy Status after 9/11: Attacks on the Laws of War

11 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2014

See all articles by Jordan J. Paust

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: 2003


The article addresses the nature of the armed conflict in Afghanistan with the Taliban and the now more broadly recognize fact that the United States cannot be at war with al Qaeda as such. Also addressed are the criteria necessary for existence of an insurgency and belligerency, criteria used to identify combatant status and combatant immunity for lawful acts of war during a real war such as that in Afghanistan, and criteria used to identify prisoner or war status. POW status exists for members of the armed forces of a party to an international armed conflict like that in Afghanistan, which means that members of the armed forces of the de factor Taliban government were entitled to pow status upon capture earlier during the war. This recognition is important also for members of the regular armed forces of any state, including those of the United States who are engaged in combat during an international armed conflict.

Keywords: al Qaeda, armed conflict, armed forces, belligerent, camouflage, combatant, combatant immunity, enemy, Geneva Convention, GPW, ICRC, insurgent, international character, law of war, pow, self-defense, Taliban, war

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., War and Enemy Status after 9/11: Attacks on the Laws of War (2003). 28 Yale Journal of International Law 325 (2003), U of Houston Law Center No. 2014-A-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2446681

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

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