Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan
Today’s Bloggers’ Roundtable was with Lt. Col. Pam McArthur, the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command-South Command Judge Advocate. We discussed the status and progress of both the military and police training regarding Constitutional rights and justice in Southern Afghanistan. The region is under the Afghan 205th Corps.
The Colonel described a judicial structure for the 205th that was modeled on that of the United States military. The major difference is that the Afghans have three sitting judges and no visiting judges.
Training is conducted at all levels of the Army, from the common soldier on up. Often the training is combined with other training such as weapons familiarization, since that is a point where a large number of troops are assembled.
This was a difficult BRT because McArthur seemed a little disconnected from the field. Perhaps we were expecting something different than the intent of the BRT.
In the United States, we have a legal history and philosophical foundation that dates back 2500 years and more. The Afghanis have their own history and legal foundation but it is nothing like ours.
The Colonel emphasized that the Afghans she works with share the same values that we do. I can accept that but I have to continue to suggest that their values come from a different base than ours. She told us that the Afghan constitution is similar to ours and that their military justice system is modeled on ours.
Given that, I would suspect that a Western framework has been grafted onto Afghan institutions. We were not able to determine how the man in the street or the PFC in the squad relates to concepts such as “rule of law”, fairness and justice. The ANP are noted for their corruption, and corruption in the ANA is not unheard of. The roots of these fundamentally unfair practices are not addressed by a lecture on the Afghan Constitution.
The expectations of the people in the ANP and ANA are not being changed by this training. When the mentors leave, the non-coms still shake down the recruits and the cops still take bribes. The concept that this should not happen is not widespread or accepted in either institution, or in the general population.
Lt. Col. McArthur seemed a bit naive. What is even more disappointing is that we have been doing this same task for eight years with relatively little progress.
Afghanistan remains a disappointment. Its Army is vastly undermanned. Its police forces are an embarrassment to the government. Vast segments of the population remain out of touch with provincial and central government services. Provincial Reconstruction Teams vary in capabilities and willingness to engage without any sort of direction and support from above.
We are often told that Afghanistan is not Iraq. It sure isn’t and we ought to be ashamed about that.
Table of contents for Bloggers' Roundtable
- We Don’t Commute to Work Anymore
- Terror Investors Might Want to Look Elsewhere
- I Hear It’s Safe
- In Our Area the Taliban Are Paying More a Month
- Iraqi Police Progress
- Sept. 11 Conspirators Going to Trial
- Continued Courage and Committment
- The Year of Opportunity – 2008
- Competent, Capable, Effective Leadership
- Afghan Army Acts: Decisive, Overwhelming
- Iraqi Military Medical Services
- Dallas Reporting: Aid Mission to Georgia
- Military Integration Into NIMS
- Status Report From the Afghan South
- Status Report From the Afghan East
- Fourth Fleet Is About Partnerships
- Iraqi Police Primer
- Sons of Iraq Status Update
- Army Apologizes
- We Are Here!
- Yar! There Be Pirates!
- Cobra Gold 2009
- Our Best: Sergeant First Class Helen Gillespie
- Africa Partnership Station Comes to E Africa
- Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan
- Sons of Iraq and the Iraqi Budget
- Air Force Combat Camera – Focus on the Fight
- Afghan Update for July 22, 2009
- The Army Goal: 1.5 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy
- Withdrawing from Iraq – some perspective
- Iraqi security update April 22 2010
- 2012 Federal Budget for Defense
- Pacific Command and the Pacific
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 11:00 am and is filed under War on Terror, Afghanistan, Government, Military, Original writing, War on Terror, Afghanistan, Rebuilding, Original writing, Reporting, Society, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.