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Tag Archive | "Afghanistan"

Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide

Lessons for a Negotiated Settlement in Afghanistan — If History Serves as a Guide
Source: RAND Corporation

Historical insurgencies that ended in settlement after a stalemate have generally followed a seven-step path. A “master narrative” distilled from these cases could help guide and assess the progress toward a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

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Full Text Reports: Women and Conflict in Afghanistan

Women and Conflict in Afghanistan (PDF)
Source: International Crisis Group

As the presidential election approaches in 2014, with the security transition at the year’s end, Afghan women, including parliamentarians and rights activists, are concerned that the hard-won political, economic and social gains achieved since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001 may be rolled back or conceded in negotiations with the insurgents. Afghanistan’s stabilisation ultimately rests on the state’s accountability to all its citizens, and respect for constitutional, legal and international commitments, including to human rights and gender equality. There will be no sustainable peace unless there is justice, and justice demands that the state respect and protect the rights of women, half its population.

Following the Taliban’s ouster, Afghan women worked hard to reverse the damage wrought by more than two decades of a civil war that deprived them of the limited progress towards gender equality experienced in earlier times. As a result of international support, donor aid and their own efforts, women are now an essential part of the post-Taliban order and have played a major role in reconstructing the state and its institutions. 40 per cent of all schoolchildren are girls. Women are more than 27 per cent of parliament. They are in the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and are lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists and civil society activists.

In the last twelve years, women’s legal status has improved considerably. Gender equality is enshrined in the constitution. The Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law criminalises rape for the first time. The state is now legally bound to protect women from violence. The ministry of women’s affairs (MOWA) and the government’s National Action Plan for Women (NAPWA) place empowerment at the heart of state building. Yet, women still struggle to avail themselves of their rights and to consolidate and advance their progress.

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“It Takes a Network”: The Rise and Fall of Social Network Analysis in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Doctrine

“It Takes a Network”: The Rise and Fall of Social Network Analysis in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Doctrine (PDF)
Source: Connections (International Network for Social Network Analysis)

During the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, a group of warrior-thinkers developed a new U.S. Army counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine to fight modern “jihadist” insurgencies. Drawing heavily on social network analysis ideas, COIN principles emphasized population protection and organizational learning and adaptation. As implemented in Iraq by General David Petraeus, the doctrine greatly reduced intercommunal violence although other factors also contributed. But, COIN in Afghanistan under General Stanley McChrystal was unsuccessful in ending the Taliban insurgency. Although the Obama Administration substantially diminished the U.S. Army’s counterinsurgency capabilities, social network analytic ideas persist in military policy and practices.

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Defense Legal Policy Board — Report of the Subcommittee on Military Justice in Combat Zones: Military Justice in cases of U.S. Service members alleged to have caused the death, injury or abuse of non-combatants in Iraq or Afghanistan

Military Justice in cases of U.S. Service members alleged to have caused the death, injury or abuse of non-combatants in Iraq or Afghanistan (PDF)
Source: Defense Legal Policy Board, Subcommittee on Military Justice in Combat Zones

On July 30, 2012, the Secretary of Defense (“SecDef”) established this Subcommittee of the Defense Legal Policy Board and directed it to review and assess the application of military justice in combat zones in cases in which Service members were alleged to have committed offenses against civilians. While this report does not pass judgment on the results of particular cases, this review was prompted by various instances of alleged misconduct by U.S. Service members which caused civilian non-combatant casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. SecDef noted that these situations are rare overall, but are nonetheless “huge flash points” which have the potential to undermine our mission and seriously impact host nation relations if not handled properly. The Subcommittee’s review focused on six specific questions raised by SecDef in his memorandum, a copy of which is provided in Appendix 1 to this report and summarized in Table 1 below.

The Subcommittee’s findings and recommendations are at Section 4.0 of this report. The recommendations are also listed in Appendix III.

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Military Justice in cases of U.S. Service members alleged to have caused the death, injury or abuse of non-combatants in Iraq or Afghanistan

From the Defense Legal Policy Board’s report of the Subcommittee on Military Justice in Combat Zones

Military Justice in cases of U.S. Service members alleged to have caused the death, injury or abuse of non-combatants in Iraq or Afghanistan [Final report]

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Improvised Explosive Devices: Unclear Whether Culvert Denial Systems to Protect Troops Are Functioning or Were Ever Installed

Improvised Explosive Devices: Unclear Whether Culvert Denial Systems to Protect Troops Are Functioning or Were Ever Installed (PDF)
Source: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Improvised explosive devices ( IEDs ) are the weapon of choice for threat networks , and there has been an increasing trend in the use of IEDs in Afghanistan. IED events in Afghanistan increased by 42 percent (9,300 to 16,000 ) from 2009 to 2011 , according to Department of Defense (DOD) testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. 1According to DOD officials , the number of IED events reportedly increased in 2012 to a total of over 17,000 incidents for the year. Culvert denial systems are designed to prevent access to roadway culverts by insurgents, who can use the culverts to emplace IEDs or other explosives. DOD has funded a number of contracts for the placement of culvert denial systems across Afghanistan.

In October 2012 , SIGAR issued a safety alert letter informing DOD of the results of our preliminary investigation, which found that Afghan contractors either had failed to properly install culvert denial systems, rendering those systems ineffective and susceptible to compromise by insurgents, or did not install them at all. Our preliminary investigation found that at least two Afghan contractors — with a total contract amount of nearly $1 million — in one Afghanistan province have committed fraud by billing the U.S. government for the installation of 250 culvert denial systems that were either never installed or incorrectly installed. The ongoing investigation is looking into whether this apparent failure to perform may have been a factor in the death or injury of several U.S. soldiers. To date, an Afghan contractor and his sub-contractor have both been arrested and charged with fraud and negligent homicide. Our investigators are working with the Afghan Attorney General’s Office to arrest the second contractor .

We initiated this review in response to the concerns identified in our safety alert letter. We sought to identify the universe of contracts awarded for culvert denial system installation, and the extent to which contract management and oversight w ere conducted . This report provides our findings on (1 ) the number of contracts that have been awarded by DOD for culvert denial systems and (2 ) the extent to which contract oversight was conducted by DOD .

To conduct this review, we relied on data and documents provided by U.S. Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR – A), U.S. Central Command’s Joint Theater Support Contracting Command ( C- JTSCC) including their subordinate Regional Contracting Commands (RCCs), Combined Joint Task Force – Paladin, Combined Joint Task Force – 1 (CJTF – 1) in Regional Command – East (RC – E), Combined Joint Task Force 3 (CJTF – 3) in Regional Command – South (RC – S) , and personnel at the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) . We al so conduct ed interviews of personnel from the commands listed above , and we reviewed and analyzed a sample of culvert denial system contract files in Afghanistan. This review did not include an assessment of culvert denial systems that were part of road pr ojects funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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