Legitimacy of International Forces under question in Afghanistan


Neither NATO nor coalition forces are UN peace keeping force in Afghanistan but they are deployed under a mandate of the UNSC (four UNSCRs – 1386, 1413, 1444 and 1510 – relate to ISAF). the Bonn agreement called on the presence of international force in Kabul to provide security for the establishment of Afghan Interim Administration and to keep the city clear of Afghan armed groups. Unfortunately, the provisions of the agreement were disregarded in the first few days, eighteen thousand Northern alliance troops, those who burned Kabul to Ashes before being kicked out by Taliban, entered the town. The provision of Bonn agreement even at the time of convention was not taking ground realities into account, “the Bonn agreement was a cover up for US and UK invasion. The US and its allies start attacking the Taliban before Bonn convention and without Security Council endorsement.” said Akbar Aria, international relation analyst. the Bonn agreement didn’t consider who would provide security in the provinces and five thousand troops deployed under UN mandate was in no way enough to provide security in the most dangerous and destabilized part of the world, the force since then has been increased by 700% plus more than 75000 Afghan security forces but according to Chris Alexander the former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan it will take three more generations to overcome the insurgency.
The Bonn agreement was a provisional arrangement for Afghanistan pending the re-establishment of permanent government institutions, the Bonn agreement was the initial series of agreements intended to re-create the State of Afghanistan. Now that the core objective of Bonn is achieved and elected government is established the government need to endorse NATO and foreign troops presence. ISAF under NATO command is claiming that they are on a “humanitarian mission,” and operates under UN command while they are not; it’s a counter insurgency operation, the toughest in the alliance history. Furthermore, previous UN “peace-keeping missions” were sanctioned by Chapter 6 of the UN Charter which calls for “peaceful settlement in a conflict” without the use of force; American-led Coalition Force and NATO-led international force deployed in Afghanistan is sanctioned under Chapter 7 which specifically lets UN-authorized troops use force to carry out their mission. In a proposal to Afghan Parliament, Afghan National United Front, an alliance of fifty political parties calls on the parliament to define the extent of use of force.
“There is no operational coordination procedure between international forces and Afghan security forces” said General Zahir Azimi spokesperson for ministry of defense. Five Afghan police were shot dead when their position was mistaken for Taliban hideout by Americans in Garishk district of Helmand province on Friday. A mechanism needs to be established to coordinate counter-terrorism operations with counter-insurgency operations and carry out all such operations in consultation with Afghan authorities. “We have several times intercepted foreigners in Kabul armed with heavy weapon in civilian cloths and cars” a Kabul police source which wanted to stay anonymous. Afghan security forces can’t question the identity and action of foreign troops in the absence of a national stand. NATO press office declined to make any comment on this specific issue.
ISAF’s mission was initially limited to Kabul. Resolution 1510 passed by Security Council on 13 October 2003 opened the way for a wider ISAF role. This is after ISAF came under NATO command in August 2003 and financed by common funding and the troop-contributing nations. The Alliance is responsible for the command, coordination and planning of the force. This includes providing the force commander and headquarters. but resolution 1510 nor any of it’s predecessor authorizes NATO force in Afghanistan.
Coalition and ISAF had a Military Technical Agreement with the Afghan Transitional Government which still provides additional guidance for ISAF operations. the technical agreement is made under the auspices of security council and Afghan government is not the counterpart but a partner. The details of the plan are outdated and no more applicable. “I can’t prevent Taliban from killing Afghan civilians, but I also don’t have the mandate to prevent foreign assistance force” said Karzai in the inauguration of transitional justice program. “Bonn accord and United Nation were compelled by the white house to find a solution to Afghan question which was one of the most complicated issues of the world, the UN is in need of reconstruction more than Afghanistan, it’s over due since the end of the cold war. We need to rethink our international dimension. We are too preoccupied with slapping each other, starting with Pakistan; it has a better international position if Afghanistan is not considered as a bargainer. for twenty five years men we have in power now were in the service of Pakistani policy” said Akbar Aria international relation analyst

Afghanistan would be in a better position to resolve a lot of its internal issues if solution for international alignments is found. Let’s look at the latest Afghan-international commitments, this series of agreements impose the defeated faction and ideas on Afghanistan. “We are a small nation we can’t go to the world powers and organizations and enquire how they legitimize their action. It’s a matter of their interest. We have no say in our interest let alone to influence theirs. We are a consumer country and we rely on donors, we are in no position to negotiate with them, we can try to continue to ask them to give us money, give us food and a government” added Akbar Aria.

“Afghanistan is a long way from making international agreements. We can’t agree with each other, if we are endorsing the emergency Loya Jirga and the constitution then Presidential is the power system. Even our president doesn’t understand how a presidential system works, he is spending most of his time wrestling with the parliament while presidential system works on parties, the president comes from a party and the parliament has party stand. We have marginalized political parties so we can keep things simpler. Agreeing with each other and international partners increases efficiency. the head of our parliament can’t interpret article 50 of the constitution. What has been imposed on Afghan society put head of parliament in his place as opposed to efficiency.
Efficiency is not going to be increase if we replace Karzai or Qanooni (head of parliament) this is where we are now, in a vicious circle of undermining one another in the hope of a better solution. Let’s rethink about the system which is imposed by foreigners, if we come to some terms with them we don’t have to disagree with each other. Imposed policies delibately or ignorantly make us bite each other.” said Akbar Aria. Afghanistan’s international and multi-lateral relation is highly complex and it’s needed to avoid international distrust again, our parents got trapped in international distrust and we suffered for it a lot we don’t want the same thing for our children. “we lived in a government of nine flags at the throat of each other, I still see them in power, the only thing which hold them back is international presence and they are buying time. Whatever we do we need to stay with the international community” said Saliullah Sali, chairman of senate defense committee.

The question still remains who is our international ally? The UN, which sends “peace-keeping troops” for us or we need to search for alternatives. Last few decades witnesses that Afghanistan had a poor choice of allies i.e. USSR and then UN. both let Afghanistan down. the UN has played an important role in destabilizing most of the conflicts and has failed to prevent potential ones. UN failed to help Rwanda, Srebrenica and didn’t do enough to stop south African apartheid.
Geneva accord mediated by UN which resulted in the withdrawal of soviet forces failed to install “national government of peace and reconstruction”, to organize the Loya Jirgah, and an effective resettlement and reconstruction program. UN also failed to prevent interference and intervention in Afghanistan although the agreement contained mechanisms to deal with them. The 1989 Loya Jirga was not convened and a new wave of violence started. UN set backed and watched the three year long battles and then tricked Dr. Najibullah into resignation resulting in collapse of Kabul government and the destruction of the last social fabrics. Then UN witnessed ferocious inter-Mujahdeen war and a revival of Middle Ages by Taliban “Afghanistan would be better off if we could come to some sort of terms with any international partner without UN involvement. I’ll give you a couple of examples; the UN convened Afghan presidential election where they persuade American political agenda and sabotaged the election. UN corruption, wrong doings and bad policies also affected parliamentary election” said Bashir Bizhan deputy president of Afghan national congress party. “Legitimate presence of international forces is to the interest of both sides, if we reevaluate the terms an American soldier will think twice before they open fire on civilians in Nangarhar. They might spend more carefully the money which is supposed to change the course of our destiny on bottled water and fancy meals”

“We met with Karzai and NATO on Nangarhar shooting spree. It’s not enough to consider it only an unfortunate accident” said senator Salih of Kunar province. “The only way to stop civilian casualty and public discontent is to enter into new terms with foreign troops. Foreign troops have put signs on their tanks ordering pedestrian and traffic to keep away from them. Ambulances and sick people in need of urgent hospital treatment can’t pass over them. They will shoot them” said Bashir Bizhan. The number of civilians shooting as a result of breaching military parameters or not paying heed to military signs has increased tremendously over the last few months. There were at least five of them last week resulting in several casualties, one involved shooting at Pazhwok reporter in Hirat. Military experts I talked to believe this is a by-product of bad security and there is little that could be done to reduce the number of such accidents. It’s partly hard to verify the inevitability of civilian causality because it’s hard to know what really happened. Foreign troops deny access to the scene, associated press reporter was expelled from the scene and his photographs were deleted. Access by independent monitoring groups to information on civilian casualties; incident scene, detainees and displaced persons need to be facilitated.

Afghan National United Front, an alliance of fifty political parties in a proposal to parliament identifies NATO as a national and regional security risk. The proposal calls on all countries with troops in Afghanistan to conclude appropriate status of force agreement and standardize bilateral agreements on the treatment of prisoners with the government, subject to the approval of the National Assembly. War criminals and offenders of military and civilian statue should be prosecuted in Afghanistan under Afghan laws, if any agreement or protocol is in contradiction that needs to be announced invalid.

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