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  • Author: Astrid Wiik, Frauke Lachenmann
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Rule of law (RoL) promotion has become a go-to-tool in the complex process of stabilizing and rebuilding (post-)conflict States. The process is driven by a heterogeneous group of national, foreign, and international actors who define and prescribe RoL norms and standards, who programme, finance, implement, and eventually monitor RoL reforms. While the legitimacy and effectiveness of RoL promotion has undergone scrutiny, particularly within the overall context of international development assistance, an aspect that has so far received little attention is the legality of RoL promotion. This concerns both the mandate of the various actors and the execution of RoL activities on the ground. Since 2001, the international community has intensely supported the RoL in Afghanistan rendering it a veritable testing ground for RoL promotion. The article explores the legal framework for actors in RoL promotion in Afghanistan from 2001 up to the present day, with a focus on the German Government, its development cooperation agencies, and private non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The article shows that while detailed rules bind the monitoring and evaluation of RoL activities in line with the existing international frameworks for development assistance, few laws and principles guide the programming and implementation of RoL promotion. The existing standards are generally too abstract to guide specific RoL promotion activities. Further concretization and harmonization is necessary in the interest of the sustainability of RoL promotion in Afghanistan – and elsewhere.
  • Topic: International Law, Non State Actors, Governance, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East
  • Author: Hamdullah Mohib
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan of today would surprise most outsiders, even those who closely follow developments in the country. We are often wrongly branded as a failing state with a struggling government whose young people are fleeing en masse for Europe and whose military has lost control of the security situation. While anecdotal evidence can always be found to lend isolated support to such claims, this sweeping characterization offers a distorted picture of reality. Afghans have always valued and cherished their freedom and sovereignty, as evidenced by our years of fighting off foreign and domestic enemies who sought to take both. Now we are reaching for new goals: freedom from dependence on foreign aid, freedom from corruption, freedom from outdated thinking that justifies the oppression of half our population, and freedom from sclerotic bureaucracy that prevents everything from citizens’ access to justice to the smooth functioning of a free market. Afghans overwhelm­ingly want a modern, sustainable, and self-reliant country whose government serves and is accountable to its people. Yes, the past 15 years have seen war, but they have also produced remarkable growth. Afghan society is thriving, which is a testament to the incredible resilience of the Afghan people. You might be familiar with the progress Afghanistan has made in the areas of education and on women’s rights, but there have also been advances in health, infrastructure, in media and telecommunication, and in sports and culture. 2001 to 2016 has been a time of hardship and sacrifice, but also one of innovation and hope. Today, 25 percent of our cabinet ministers are women, and there are scores of female deputy ministers, ambassadors, district governors, members of parliament, and civil servants. Afghan telecommunication companies cover some 90 percent of the population, which has an estimated 20 million cell phone users. Our media sector is thriving and can rightly be called the freest in the region. When President Ashraf Ghani—a former World Bank economist with an expertise in the causes of and solutions for fragile states—and CEO Abdullah Abdullah led the National Unity Government to power less than two years ago, their first priority was to diagnose the nature and size of the myriad problems facing the country. Then President Ghani designed a strategic roadmap of reforms to take Afghanistan forward. When that plan, “Realizing Self Reliance,” was presented in November 2014 to Afghanistan’s partners, funders, and allies, it was enthusiastically endorsed. Today, Afghanistan is 18 months into an era of unprecedented, sweeping changes—an era President Ghani has named “the transformation decade.” The government is taking innovative approaches to solving Afghanistan’s unique problems, as seen in its national priority programs such as the Citizen’s Charter and the Economic Empowerment Plan for Rural Women. There are early, promising results everywhere you look. Infrastructure projects for roads, rail, and electric and fiber optic connectivity are underway. Public finance has been improved through aggressive anti-corruption measures, with internal revenue increasing by a record breaking 22 percent in 2015. The customs and revenue departments, where corrupt practices have traditionally thrived, have undergone sweeping changes that have sent revenues to historic highs. Our new Procurement Commission reviews all contracts and has saved hundreds of millions of dollars for the government. We are rediscovering and reinvesting in the revival of our ancient past with the launch of the new cultural heritage trust fund this year. Last November, Afghanistan was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization and is now taking strong steps to improve its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators, such as a new office in the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to monitor how reforms to reduce obstacles for business are being implemented on the ground, and streamline licensing procedures. The “Jobs for Peace” program that took effect late last year in 12 provinces is already providing food security for nearly 100,000 families by creating 5.5 million labor days. Eventually, it will cover all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, and is already performing above expectations. Highlights of major regional economic development deals that have been closed in the last 18 months include the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which will bring Afghanistan thousands of jobs and $400 million annually, and the four-nation Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA 1000). This progress is all the more remarkable when you consider that in the short span of just one year—between the end of 2013 and the end of 2014—Afghanistan underwent cataclysmic changes. Following our first peaceful democratic transition of power in history, we installed an untested new form of government led by former rivals who agreed to come together for the benefit of the country, and our brave national security forces assumed full responsibility for national security despite lacking close air support, available medevac, and other essential capabilities. We also managed to make these gains against some steep odds that continue to work against us. Afghanistan’s economy has yet to recover from the crisis caused by the departure of more than 600,000 foreign military personnel and contractors, which sent revenue plunging and unemployment soaring to 40 percent. We have struggled to implement sweeping governance reforms and address urgent citizen needs while being constrained by budget austerity measures. And we continue to fight a war against two enemies simultane­ously, the Taliban and Daesh. But despite the grim headlines that emphasize enemy attacks, our security forces have exceeded expectations, risking and losing their lives in a fight we did not ask for against invading militant groups who threaten not just Afghanistan, but the region and rest of the world. Throughout our journey toward self-reliance, a key element of our continued success will be the strength and endurance of key partnerships, particularly with the United States. Our international partners, including the United States and NATO, have pledged to maintain a significant troop level to train, assist, and advise our security forces at least through 2017. This is invaluable support because it gives the government the breathing room it needs to solve urgent problems that, when remedied, will mean a more stable country. The Afghan people and government are grateful for the continued friendship of the United States and for the fact that both our nations realize that we are united against a shared threat. We honor everyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice in this fight. A captain in the United States Navy who served with the British Royal Marines in Afghanistan once told me that the greatest show of appreciation we can make for that sacrifice is to protect and build on the progress and freedoms for which so many troops fought, died, and were wounded. And so we are. Fiscal independence is a top priority. We need to create more employment opportuni­ties for Afghans so they can be prosperous inside the country, instead of risking their lives trying to find better lives that are not likely to materialize in Europe. Despite gains in women’s participation in all facets of society, it is completely unacceptable that many women still face the threat of violence and are discriminated against with impunity. More girls need to be in school, laying the foundation to pursue their dreams later in life. Peace is urgently needed, but we acknowledge that the process of achieving sustainable security is long, complex, and requires much more than just reconciliation with insurgent groups. Our government institutions need much more reform so that they are efficient, effective, and transparently in service to the Afghan people. Fortunately, we have a formidable engine for our momentum: Afghanistan’s massive, energetic youth population. Three-quarters of Afghans are under the age of 35, and although this generation has known only war and violence their whole lives, they are not cynical and pessimistic. Rather, they are determined to break with the past and change Afghanistan’s story. They are educated, ambitious, and they want peace and prosperity for themselves and their families. In business, education, government, civil society, and culture, they are pushing boundaries of “what is” and leading us forward to “what can be.” Afghanistan has only just started its transformation. The world should not doubt that we are determined to finish it.
  • Topic: Communications, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Democracy, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Sarah Detzner, James Copnall, Alex de Waal, Ian M. Ralby, Joshua Stanton, Ibrahim Warde, Leon Whyte, Richard Weitz, Jessica Knight, John H. Maurer, Alexander Tabarrok, Alex Nowrasteh, Tom Keatinge, Emily Knowles, Karolina MacLachlan, Andrew Lebovich, Caroline Troein, Anne Moulakis
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The Fletcher Security Review: Managed and edited by students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, we build on the Fletcher School’s strong traditions of combining scholarship with practice, fostering close interdisciplinary collaboration, and acting as a vehicle for groundbreaking discussion of international security. We believe that by leveraging these strengths – seeking input from established and up-and-coming scholars, practitioners, and analysts from around the world on topics deserving of greater attention – we can promote genuinely unique ways of looking at the future of security. Each issue of the Review is centered around a broad theme – in this issue, we tackle “Money & War.” Money influences every aspect of warfare, conventional or unconventional. No nationstate military, insurgent group, terrorist network, trans-national criminal organization, or hybrid actor can be understood, or countered, without knowing where the money is coming from – as well as where, and how, it gets spent. Evolutions and revolutions in financial tools and practices quickly translate to transformations in military affairs, and some cases, vice versa.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights, Governance, Sanctions, Military Affairs, Finance, Islamic State, Navy, Arab Spring, Maritime, Conflict, Multilateralism, Islamism, Drugs, Currency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, China, Iran, Sudan, Darfur, Middle East, Asia, North Korea, Mali, Asia-Pacific, Sahel, United States of America, North America
  • Author: Ian M. Ralby
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: On 16 September 2007, the accountability of private armed contractors became a global concern. A team of armed guards from the US company Blackwater Worldwide, operating on a US State Department contract, opened fire that day in Baghdad’s Nisor Square, killing seventeen Iraqi civilians and injuring an additional twenty. It took more than seven years before four of the individuals responsible were ultimately convicted of either first degree murder or voluntary manslaughter by a jury in a U.S. Federal District Court. A fifth member of the Blackwater team had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.[1] The initial lack of consequences and the slow speed of justice provided the watchful world with strong evidence that armed contractors operate in a zone of legal twilight, devoid of accountability. ​ The rise of private armed contracting was one of the most distinctive operational developments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, famously stated: “Our corporate goal is to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did to the postal service.”[2] Throughout both conflicts, the hiring policies of several Western governments, particularly those of the United States, helped Blackwater and numerous other companies move toward that goal. By December 2008, for example, 69% of the United States’ total force in Afghanistan was comprised of private contractors, roughly 15% of which were armed.[3] While there are no reliable statistics on the size of the global private armed security industry, there is little doubt that it has grown and contracted with the surge and decline of Western engagement in armed conflict. New conflicts on the horizon, however, suggest the possibility of a resurgence of the industry, reigniting concerns about accountability. The proliferation of private armed security companies has coincided with a proliferation of initiatives aimed at developing accountability for the industry. Numerous codes, standards, mechanisms and proposals – developed by governments, international organizations, civil society groups, private companies, trade associations, individuals, academics and multi-stakeholder bodies – have sought to address different issues surrounding armed contractors. Most of them, however, have been developed in response to incidents that already occurred. This reactive approach to accountability, while useful for addressing past problems, may leave the industry exposed to future problems. In other words, a code, standard or mechanism set up to prevent another Nisor Square incident may be very effective in doing so, but may fail to prevent a different and even more worrying incident in the future. This article begins with a brief overview of the most credible accountability initiatives, suggesting that the resulting collection forms a patchwork, rather than a framework for governing the conduct of armed contractors. The analysis then focuses on the process of selecting contractors, with a particular emphasis on the US Government. While cost has been a key factor in determining selection, the various initiatives discussed have made it possible for accountability and quality to be added as essential metrics. Ultimately, however, the failure of the accountability initiatives to remain current, much less forward-looking, means that the objective determinants of ‘accountability and quality’ may not be fit for purpose as the US and other Western powers begin to engage the services of armed contractors for assistance in new conflicts...
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs, Regulation, Accountability
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Stephen Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In an important sense, emerging debates on the war's lessons are premature. The war in Afghanistan is not over; nor is it ending anytime soon. Nevertheless, before conventional wisdom consolidates, two observations on counterinsurgency are worth considering now: whether it can work and how to approach governance reform.
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America
  • Author: Rudra Chaudhuri, Theo Farrell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Success in war depends on alignment between operations and strategy. Commonly, such alignment takes time as civilian and military leaders assess the effectiveness of operations and adjust them to ensure that strategic objectives are achieved. This article assesses prospects for the US-led campaign in Afghanistan. Drawing on extensive field research, the authors find that significant progress has been made at the operational level in four key areas: the approach to counterinsurgency operations, development of Afghan security forces, growth of Afghan sub-national governance and military momentum on the ground. However, the situation is bleak at the strategic level. The article identifies three strategic obstacles to campaign success: corruption in Afghan national government, war-weariness in NATO countries and insurgent safe havens in Pakistan. These strategic problems require political developments that are beyond the capabilities of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In other words, further progress at the operational level will not bring 'victory'. It concludes, therefore, that there is an operational- strategic disconnect at the heart of the ISAF campaign.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Governance
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Author: Colleen Bell
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Institution: Central and East European International Studies Association
  • Abstract: This article examines the emergence of counterinsurgency doctrine in Coalition interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. While counterinsurgency is complimentary to the tenets forwarded by its classical military predecessors in several respects, the article shows that it is also more than a refashioning of conventional military practice. Counterinsurgency is intimately tied to institutional practices that shape global liberal governance. It can be traced to dominant trends in international humanitarian, development and peace interventionism since the end of the Cold War and it deepens the links between the social development of war-affected populations and the politics of international security. Rather than simply a shift in military practice, counterinsurgency is distinguished by its investment in civilian modes of warfare. Counterinsurgency retells the narrative of intervention as part of the evolution of political and economic liberalisation, marking a passage from interventionary force to post-interventionary governance. Modern counterinsurgency, it is concluded, exposes the widening indistinction between contemporary modes of peace and those of war in international relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Economics, War, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Sheri Berman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: SHERI BERMAN is Associate Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. In December 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the fruits of his administration's lengthy review of Afghanistan policy: temporary troop reinforcements and a new military strategy designed to reverse recent gains by the Taliban, efforts to increase the quality of Afghan governance, and a stronger partnership with Pakistan. The troop increases and the proposed withdrawal starting date of July 2011 dominated the headlines, but in the long run the effects of what Obama called a "civilian surge" will be even more important.
  • Topic: Security, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Robert M. Gates
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The Pentagon has to do more than modernize its conventional forces; it must also focus on today's unconventional conflicts -- and tomorrow's.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Amparo Tortosa
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Athena Intelligence Journal
  • Institution: Athena Intelligence
  • Abstract: El 19 de septiembre del 2005, como continuación de los acuerdos de Bonn 2001 para la reconstrucción de Afganistán y su transición al sistema político democrático, tuvieron lugar las primeras elecciones democráticas al Parlamento y Consejos provinciales. Todo ello, partiendo de una situación post-conflicto.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan