The International Community and Peacebuilding

Fulfilling the tasks and responsibilities, including those related to human rights, the rule of law and gender issues, entrusted to the United Nations in the Bonn Agreement;

ii)Promoting national reconciliation and rapprochement throughout the country, through the good offices of the Special Representative;

iii)Managing all the United Nations humanitarian relief, recovery and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan, under the overall authority of the Special Representative and in coordination with the Interim Authority and the successor administrations of Afghanistan.197

UNAMA’s role is clarified further by various Security Council resolu­tions, especially by Resolution 1806 (2008)198 and Resolution 1868 (2009).199 Collectively, these resolutions provide that, with the consent of the Afghan authorities, UNAMA will actively promote political outreach in Afghanistan, support Afghan reconciliation programmes, promote peace and help coordinate humanitarian assistance, help realise the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, support the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission and, more generally, provide support for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

In actuality, therefore, it appears that UNAMA is competent to advise Afghan authorities on all matters relating to its liberal reconstruction. Albeit in an advisory role, UNAMA nevertheless plays a ‘central role . . . in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan’.200 Although the consensual nature of UNAMA’s presence in Afghanistan has resulted in it being characterised as a ‘light footprint’ mission, ‘in practice there has been an extremely heavy footprint’.201 In essence, although it is Afghan authorities that have spearheaded the programme for liberal reform, drafting and establishing a whole series of laws and institutions in order to protect human rights and instal democracy at the national and local levels, these authorities have operated under the considerable influence of UNAMA.

Most significantly, UNAMA has assisted the Transitional Administration in drafting a constitution for Afghanistan. In particular, UNAMA created the Constitutional Commission Support Unit, which provided technical support and financial assistance to the Constitutional Review Commission, the body established by the Transitional Authority to draft the constitution. The constitution was adopted on 4 January 2004 by a constitutional loya and commits Afghanistan to a future firmly based upon the protec­tion of individual liberty. The preamble to the constitution provides, for example, that Afghanistan will be ‘an order based on the peoples’ will and democracy’ and ‘void of oppression, atrocity, discrimination as well as violence, based on the rule of law, social justice, protecting integrity and human rights, and attaining peoples’ freedoms and fundamental rights’.202 In addition, the constitution imposes an obligation upon the state to ‘cre­ate a prosperous and progressive society based on social justice, preserva­tion of human dignity, protection of human rights, realization of democracy, attainment of national unity as well as equality between all peoples and tribes’.203Article 7 requires that the state respect the major international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Gender equality finds particular support within the constitution. Article 22 provides for the legal equality of men and women: ‘[a]ny kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan – whether women or men – have equal rights and duties before the law’. Article 24 provides that

liberty is the natural right of human beings. This right has no limit unless affecting others’ freedoms as well as the public interest, which shall be regulated by law. Liberty and human dignity are inviolable. The state shall respect and protect liberty as well as human dignity.204

3.3 Operation Enduring Freedom, ISAF and Provincial Reconstruction Teams

In addition to the work being carried out by UNAMA two other interna­tional community-sponsored missions are operating in Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). OEF is under US control (as opposed to that of the UN) and is a remnant of the initial military intervention. This force has been supplemented by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is a NATO-led mission and operates separately and under a different legal basis than OEF.205 It does, however, perform a similar role, albeit in a different geographical area. Whilst OEF is charged with providing security outside of Kabul (the Afghan capital), ISAF was initially respon­sible for ensuring security in Kabul. This being said, ISAF’s role has been extended across Afghanistan, operating alongside (albeit distinct from) OEF. 206

Initially both missions possessed a limited role: as counter-insurgency forces intended to enhance security so that the Bonn Agreement could be implemented as effectively as possible and political reforms undertaken. However, eventually the mandate of OEF, and later ISAF,207 was extended from a principally security-based role to a mission that actively assists in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement and its liberal vision. This new role has manifested itself most clearly through the development of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). PRTs are principally civil mis­sions that are designed to facilitate reconstruction. However, in order to ensure their effectiveness, they are accompanied by military personnel in order to provide secure conditions.208 Typically, a PRT comprises 60–100 soldiers, Afghan advisors and representatives from civilian agencies like the US State Department, the US Agency for International Development and the US Department for Agriculture. Ultimately, the purpose of PRTs is to extend the authority of the Afghan government, improve security and promote civil reconstruction. Thus,

[t]here is a common misconception that the PRT is all about the physical recon­struction of Afghanistan. This is not the way we do business. Our concept of operations and development priorities are primarily concerned with: a) govern­ment institution building and b) security sector reform.209

Indeed, PRTs were regarded as indispensable in mobilising Afghans to participate in selecting representatives for the loyas and in the elections. This included educational programmes that disseminated important information about the role of individual participation in democratic politics, the role and function of the Legislative Assembly, how delegates of this Assembly are selected and the importance of widespread participation in elections and the need for broad representation (and for the representation of women in particular). In the presidential election of October 2004 PRTs provided security and advice in contested/hostile regions, guarding polling stations, securing ballot boxes and providing advice to election workers. Indeed, the success of these elections was generally attributed to the advice and support provided by the PRTs.210 In addition, PRTs contributed to the establishment of schools, clinics, wells, roads, bridges and the construction of public facilities, including police stations, courthouses and civil administration buildings. To this end, PRTs have achieved ‘great success’ and ‘played important roles in everything from election support to school-building to disbarment to mediating factional conflicts’.211 All these activities, I suggest, are pursuant to the wider objec­tive of reconstructing Afghanistan upon a liberal basis.

3.4 Funding

In order to rebuild a state devastated by war, famine and mismanage­ment, finance is obviously of crucial significance.212 On their own, the Afghan authorities do not possess the necessary material resources to radically reconstruct Afghanistan’s political and legal system. In its determination to encourage the liberal reconstruction, the international com­munity has provided not just advice and assistance but also substantial funding. Significantly, this funding has always been linked to political objectives: the international community has provided funding on the basis that Afghanistan continues to take steps towards liberalisation and that any funding is used to help realise this liberal objective. Since 2002, the international community has held a number of ‘donor conferences’ in order to rally funding. Several of these conferences have particular significance in the context of steering Afghanistan towards liberal democracy. For example,

[a]n international conference on Afghanistan was convened in London in January 2006, where the international community pledged continued assistance to the country in exchange for the realization of concrete goals within the areas of security, counter-narcotics, social and economic development, governance, rule of law, and human rights.213

In light of the demands made at this conference, the government of Afghanistan produced the Interim-Afghanistan National Development Strategy (I-ANDS) which prioritised these (overtly liberal) objectives.214 In particular, I-ANDS explains that ‘democratic governance and the protec­tion of human rights constitute the cornerstone of sustainable political progress in Afghanistan’.215 With this in mind, I-ANDS provides that

[b]y 2020 we envisage a state in which institutions are more accountable and responsive to poor people, strengthening their participation in the political pro­cess and in local decision-making regardless of gender or social status. We will continue to mature as a stable Islamic constitutional democracy with regular national and provincial elections that are peaceful and fair.216

In Rome 2007 another international donor conference was held. Donations were made in order to consolidate and enhance the rule of law in Afghanistan.217 2008 witnessed a similar donor conference (held in Paris) where international actors reaffirmed their commitment to a liberal demo­cratic Afghanistan. Over US$20 billion was pledged, with this money being used to support the objectives outlined in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), which was formulated in Paris by the Afghan authorities in conjunction with members of the international community. ANDS provided the roadmap for political development over the next five years. In a similar vein to the previous interim development strategy, these objectives include a) security (nationwide stabilisation, strengthened law enforcement and improved personal security for every Afghan); b) governance, the rule of law and human rights (strengthening democratic practice and institutions, human rights, the rule of law, deliv­ery of public services and Government accountability); and c) economic and social development (poverty reduction, sustainable development).218 In addition, this funding was pledged on the basis that Afghan authorities continue to work closely with international actors (principally UNAMA) in realising these stipulated liberal objectives. The most recent conference, held in Tokyo in 2012, provided huge sums of money in order facilitate Afghanistan’s liberal reconstruction. International actors donated US$16 billion dollars to Afghanistan, although crucially the provision of this aid was dependent upon Afghanistan meeting a number of clearly defined objectives. These included organising free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2015, improving controls on financial markets, tackling corruption and implementing laws condemning vio­lence against women.219


Since the end of the Cold War the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding has become stark. In this chapter I have argued that the international community has developed peacebuilding as a tool to assist post-conflict states in reconstructing themselves upon a liberal basis, and thereby enhancing the scope of the liberal peace. Whereas historically peacekeeping was indifferent to the political nature of a dispute, peace­building exhibits a profound liberal bias. This is most evident from the territorial administrations in Kosovo and East Timor where the interna­tional community, operating through the UN, systematically rebuilt these territories upon a liberal basis. Significantly, in Afghanistan there was a change of strategy. The international community did not take over administration of the state but allowed domestic authorities to be the figurehead for the liberal reconstruction, albeit with considerable support, encour­agement and guidance from the international community. I have suggested that the international community’s determination to reconstruct Afghanistan upon a liberal basis is comparable to its determination to reconstruct Kosovo and East Timor upon a liberal basis. Although there was a change in approach/strategy by the international community, their normative commitment held firm.

In 2000 Lakhdar Brahimi produced an influential report that criticised the UN for deploying peacebuilding missions with the explicit (and ambitious) mandate of promoting respect for human rights but failing to ade­quately resource these missions. Brahimi stated that ‘if an operation is given a mandate to protect civilians . . . it also must be given the specific resources needed to carry out that mandate’.220 In order to better resource peacebuilding missions the UN established the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in 2005.221 In ‘recognizing that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing’,222 the General Assembly and Security Council created this Commission in order to pro­

Conclusion 193 vide peacebuilding missions with greater coherence and better resources. As the UN explains,

the Peacebuilding Commission plays a unique role in (1) bringing together all of the relevant actors, including international donors, the international financial institutions, national governments, troop contributing countries; (2) marshal­ling resources and (3) advising on and proposing integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery and where appropriate, highlighting any gaps that threaten to undermine peace.223

Indeed, the PBC has recently played an important role in coordinating the UN’s response to the civil unrest in Burundi. After gaining its independence Burundi experienced a number of violent conflicts which led to the breakdown of law and order, resulting in serious and widespread human rights abuses. In its determination to end the conflict and restore law and order the Burundi government requested assistance from the PBC. In response, the PBC played an important role in organising international aid and providing advice and support to the government so that democratic processes could be strengthened and human rights protected.224 In its attempt to enhance the capacity of peacebuilding missions the creation of the PBC therefore exemplifies the commitment of the UN (under the influence of the international community) to promoting respect for liberal democracy in states emerging from conflict.225

1 Tansey argues that peacebuilding has become a euphemism for ‘democratic regime-building’: O Tansey, ‘The Concept and Practice of Democratic Regime-Building’ (2007) 14 International Peacekeeping 633,

2 Report of the Secretary-General, ‘An Agenda for Peace-Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peacekeeping’ UN Doc A/47/277 – S/24111 (17 June 1992) 55. See also the statement by the President of the Security Council: ‘peace-building is aimed at preventing the outbreak, the recurrence or continuation of armed conflict and therefore encompasses a wide range of political, development, humanitarian and human rights programmes and mechanisms. This requires short and long term actions tailored to address the particular needs of societies sliding into conflict or emerging from it. These actions should focus on fostering sustainable institutions and processes in areas such as sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and inequalities, transparent and accountable governance, the promotion of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law and the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence’: Statement by the President of the Security Council, ‘Peacebuilding: towards a comprehensive approach’, UN Doc S/PRST/2001/5 (20 February 2001).

3 In 1991, for example, the UN reiterated the importance of peacekeeping missions, defin­ing them as an ‘operation involving military personnel, but without enforcement powers, undertaken by the United Nations to help maintain or restore international peace and security in areas of conflict. These operations are voluntary and are based on consent and cooperation’: United Nations, ‘The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peacekeeping’ (New York, United Nations Department of Information, 1990) 4. See generally the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, ‘Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in all their Aspects’, UN Doc A/56/767 (28 March 2003) para 46.

4 N Tsagourias, ‘Consent, Neutrality/Impartiality and the Use of Force in Peacekeeping: Their Constitutional Dimension’ (2006) 11 Journal of Conflict and Security Law 465.

5 A Bellamy, P Williams and S Griffin, Understanding Peacekeeping (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2004) 76.

6 ‘[T]he last few years have confirmed that respect for certain basic principles of peace-­keeping are essential to its success. Three particularly important principles are the consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defence’: UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, ‘Supplement to an Agenda for Peace’, UN Doc A/50/60 – S/1995/1 (3 January 1995) para 33. In 2000 the Brahimi Report stated that ‘consent of the local parties, impartiality and the use of force only in self-defence should remain the bedrock principles of peacekeeping’: L Brahimi, Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, UN Doc A/55/305 – S/2000/809 (21 August 2000) para 48. Most recently (2008), the UN reaffirmed that the trinity of virtues continue to ‘provide a navigation aid, or compass’ for all peace opera­tions, ie both peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions: ‘United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines’ (2008), available at: (referred to as the Capstone Document).

7 Tsagourias, ‘Consent, Neutrality/Impartiality and the Use of Force in Peacekeeping’ (n 4) at 481.

8 It should be noted that in the Capstone Document the UN recognised that the use of force should be generally considered to be authorised in order to defend the mandate rather than merely in self-defence: Capstone Document (n 6) 34.

9 ‘Although modern peacebuilders have largely abandoned the archaic language of civilised versus uncivilised, they nevertheless appear to act upon the belief that one model of governance – liberal market democracy – is superior to all others’: R Paris, ‘International Peacebuilding and the “Mission Civilisatrice”’ (2002) 28 Review of International Studies 637, 638.

10 Bellamy, Williams and Griffin, Understanding Peacekeeping (n 5) 26. See generally D Chandler, International Statebuilding: the Rise of Post-Liberal Governance (London, Routledge, 2010) ch 2 (‘The “liberal peace” critique of international intervention’).

11 The terms ‘sovereignty problem’ and ‘governance problem’ are borrowed from Wilde: R Wilde, ‘From Danzig to East Timor and Beyond: The Role of the United Nations Missions in Kosovo and East Timor’ (2001) 95 American Journal of International Law 46, 46.

12 ‘While traditional peacekeeping strove primarily to sustain cease-fires or peace agree­ments between two states by providing a “cordon sanitaire”, post-conflict peace-building (PCPB) was designed to transform intra-state conflicts through free and fair elections, and the introduction of liberal-market reforms’: M Kartas, ‘Post-Conflict Peacebuilding – Is the Hegemony of the ‘Good Governance’ Discourse Depoliticising the Local?’ (2007) Paper for the Annual Conference of the Nordic International Studies Association 1, 1.

13 ‘Without exception, peacebuilding missions in the post-Cold War period have attempted to ‘transplant’ the values of institutions of the liberal democratic core into the domestic affairs of peripheral host states’: Paris, ‘International Peacebuilding’ (n 9) at 638.

14 ‘While the underlying principles are firmly recognised in article 2 of the UN Charter, both the world community’s understanding and practice have increasingly departed from these principles in favour of global interests and stronger human rights’: O Korhonen, J Gras and K Creutz, International Post-Conflict Situations: New Challenges for Co-Operative Governance (Helsinki, Erik Castrén Institute Research Reports 18/2006) 3.

15 E Aksu, The United Nations, Intra-State Peacekeeping and Normative Change (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2003) 83. For example, in the Dominican Republic although human rights and humanitarian concerns were at the forefront of UN discussions, they did not figure in the Security Council resolution that deployed the peacekeeping force: SC Res 203 (14 May 1965).

16 Aksu, ibid at 7.

17 Although UNTAG was the first post-Cold War peacebuilding mission, it was estab­lished by SC Res 435 on 29 September 1978. However, only with the end of the Cold War was the political environment conducive to the deployment of a UN force of this nature.

18 In other words, UNTAG was not authorised under Chapter VII UN Charter. The legal basis of this mission was located in the consent of the host state.

19 J Sutterlin, The UN and the Maintenance of International Security (Westport CT, Greenwood, 2003) 41.

20 ‘[T]he mission became the experiment of a new school of peacekeeping; expanding the role of the UN from traditional military and security functions to electoral matters’: C Stahn, The Law and Practice of International Territorial Administration (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008) 220.

21 SC Res 745 (28 February 1992) para 8.

22 In Resolution 745 the Security Council explained that it was deploying UNTAC with the objective of ‘contribut[ing] to the restoration and maintenance of peace in Cambodia, to the promotion of national reconciliation, to the protection of human rights and to the assurance of the right of self-determination of the Cambodian people through free and fair elections’: SC Res 745 (28 February 1992).

23 ibid at paras 1–3.

24 See generally S Ratner, The New UN Peacekeeping: Building Peace in Lands of Conflict after the Cold War (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 1995) ch 6.


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