Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, June 05, 2006

Identifying the Problems, but Not the Solutions

As reported in an article written in the United States Institute of Peace April/May 2006 newsletter, USIP recently held two meetings of the Afghanistan Working Group to discuss the “possible problems and solutions” in Afghanistan. The problems that they identified included “continuing attacks from the Taliban and other anti-government militias, the need for economic development and justice sector form, and the resurgence of the opium trade.” There was no consensus, however, on any possible solutions.

At the first meeting, security issues were the main point of discussion. The group was briefed by counterinsurgency experts Seth Jones of the RAND Corporation and Colonel David Lamm of the National Defense University. They noted that “despite earlier predictions that the insurgency was dying down, it has, in fact, maintained its presence in the southern and eastern provinces.” The two men noted that the insurgents have adopted new techniques, “attacking ‘softer’ targets such as government personnel and religious leaders rather than the military” and that “beheadings, kidnappings, and suicide bombings have become more frequent.”

The second meeting focused on reconstruction. Alex Their, Senior Advisor to the Institute’s Rule of Law program, and Barnett Rubin, director of studies at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University were the speakers. Rubin spoke about the London Compact. This is an “agreement that outlines the responsibilities of the international community in Afghanistan’s reconstruction.” They focused on reconstruction at the local level. They noted that “the past four years of assistance and state building have had little impact at the local level” and that “many Afghans have become skeptical about the central government and perceive it to be a client of the international community.”

Both men agree that there is still a great amount of work to be done, but that “it is vital that Afghans be given the chance to strengthen their own fledgling institutions.”

To read this article in full click here.


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