Submission from British and Irish Agencies
1. The British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan
Group is a network of 25 NGOs that work in Afghanistan providing
humanitarian relief and supporting reconstruction and development.
In existence since 1987, BAAG has established a strong network
of NGOs and civil society organisations in the UK and Europe.
It hosts and supports the European Network for NGOs in Afghanistana
group of 15 NGOs from the mainland Europe. BAAG also works
closely with the Afghanistan based Agency Coordinating Body for
Afghan Relief (ACBAR) which represents over 90 international
and Afghan NGOs, and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation
Many of the BAAG members have been active in the
country for well over two decades. BAAG's strength lies in the
collective knowledge of these agencies which have a long standing
relationship with Afghan communities in most parts of the country.
2. Afghanistan is undoubtedly facing a serious
crisis. Insecurity is at its worst since 2001. Whilst the south
and east have seen a major escalation of fighting, more security
incidents are also reported from previously stable areas. Civilian
travel on all major highways has become fraught with risks of
attacks by the anti-government forces and criminal groups. There
is an unprecedented level of criminal kidnapping. It has once
again become extremely dangerous to live, travel and do business
in the country.
3. Afghans' faith in the government and in the
international community has not been lower since the fall of the
Taliban in 2001.
Unemployment is high with almost no prospects in sight. Many of
the millions, including girls, who went back to school after 2001 and
graduated in 2008, have no chance to further their education or
find jobs. There is a widespread anger among Afghans over civilian
casualties caused by excessive use of force and air strikes, and
the conduct of some troops. Endemic corruption within the police
force and government officials at large has had a crippling effect
on business, social life and travel leading to growing concerns
that many Afghans now perceive the armed opposition groups as
"the lesser of the many evils" and therefore may actually
decide to support those rather than the government.
4. Consecutive droughts and harsh winters
have left millions in need of humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian
situation has been exacerbated by insecurity leading to poor access
to those most in need, the untimely return of thousands of refugees
from the neighbouring countries and high food prices. As a result
"many Afghans are facing some of the worst conditions they
have experienced in 20 years".
It has become increasingly difficult to deliver
aid to those in need. As aid agencies have had to restrict their
travel due to insecurity, thousands of communities across the
south and east, but also in other areas, have limited access to
assistance. In 2008 Afghanistan was the most dangerous place
for aid workers. 38 aid workers were killed in 2008 and
130 were kidnapped. This would appear to be in part as a
result of a lack of distinction between the military and civilian
aid worker, as the international military continues to provide
humanitarian and development assistance even in areas where civilian
agencies, including departments of the Afghan government are present.
5. Against this background members of the
British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group welcome the opportunity
to raise their concerns with the Foreign Affairs Committee. We
believe that, although some important opportunities may have been
lost, a renewed commitment to work, in a compact with the Afghan
people, towards a clear and coherent strategy and vision could
turn the situation around. As a group of agencies that have worked
with the Afghan communities for over 25 years and have witnessed
the prolonged conflict Afghans have experienced, we make the following
observations and recommendations. We would be happy to discuss
these issues in greater detail with the UK Parliamentarians and
6. Taking this opportunity we would also
like to commend the British Government for its continued commitment
to Afghanistan. The United Kingdom has made an important contribution
to security and development assistance since the fall of the Taliban
and in many respects its policies are often regarded as among
the most effective in terms of good practice and taking a long
term view of the country's needs. However, we believe, that given
the scale of the international interventions, particularly the
number of actors involved, good policy and practice on the part
of the UK alone are unlikely to bring about the much needed change
for which we all, but particularly the Afghan population, long.
We also believe that certain parts of UK policy should be revised
in order to enhance the focus on meeting the immediate security
and humanitarian challenges as well as creating the conditions
for sustainable development.
Address effectively the root causes of insecurity
and instability: poverty, poor governance and lack of rule of
7. The causes of insecurity are complex.
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world.
The three decades of conflict have left the country practically
in ruins: economic infrastructure in key development sectors,
such as agriculture, has seen extensive damage and much of the
small industrial base that the country had developed has been
almost totally demolished. As a result, unemployment is high with
many Afghans seeking income through labour migration or from the
drugs market. It would also appear that for some Afghans joining
the anti-government insurgency or organised criminal gangs provides
the only means of survival.
8. There is evidently a crisis of governance
in many parts of the country. The police and judiciary, where
they exist, are widely regarded as inept and corrupt. Reports
of "shadow government" are widespread and Afghans are
thrown back on using traditional ways to solve grievances or even
to resort to the insurgents to seek justice and redress for them.
The capacity of the provincial government departments responsible
for key services remains worryingly low. As a consequence the
government, whether central or provincial, is seen as incompetentan
image that has seriously undermined its legitimacy and credibility.
The problem has been exacerbated by a heavy involvement of the
international military through the Provincial Reconstruction Teams
(PRTs) in governance, reconstruction and development. In the eyes
of many Afghans the PRT commanders, who are often in charge of
more resources than the provincial governors, have more power
and influence and are therefore perceived as a parallel, if not
the actual, government.
9. Former militia commanders retain influential
positions within and outside the government of Afghanistan. The
US and some other military forces would appear to have made significant
use of those commanders in their operations, including for force
protection purposes, rendering the DDR and DIAG programmes less
effective. Former militia commanders in many areas are perceived
by local Afghans to have the same amount or more weapons in their
possession than four years ago. Many Afghans emphasise the direct
link between the presence of arms in society, as well as a lack
of reintegration of ex-combatants, and continued insecurity in
10. The setting up of tribal militia groups
under the Afghanistan Public Protection Force (APPF) appears to
be another attempt to find a quick fix to a security challenge
that requires a coherent and nation wide strategy. Afghans have
had a bitter experience of armed militias and are rightly concerned
about inter-ethnic and inter-communal tensions that have almost
always followed initiatives aimed at "making communities
responsible for their security".
Programmes, such as the APPF, with weak state control and accountability
are prone to serious abuse of power and may in the long run be
counter-productive. There is a real danger that communities involved
in APPF would face significant additional security risk resulting
from their association with the pro-government forces. The Taliban
have reportedly already warned communities against taking part
in the APPF.
Similar initiatives in the past have led to a widespread proliferation
of weapons. Instead of strengthening the state they have undermined
it and in the case of the post-Soviet regime it led to its demise.
It therefore comes as no surprise that even the authorities in
the Wardak province where APPF is going through a pilot phase
doubt its wisdom. It also appears that the programme is yet to
establish benchmarks for how its success would be measured. However,
even if the pilot programme in Wardak is judged by those piloting
it to have produced satisfactory results in that province, the
complex and diverse nature of Afghanistan's political, tribal
and social structures means that what works in one province may
not work in another. We believe that resources spent on APPF should
be directed to reform and strengthen the Afghan security forces,
particularly the police.
11. Seeing improved governance in an essentially
"counter-insurgency" light runs the risk of a highly
militaristic approach to many of the issues that would be better
addressed by using civilian methods and capacities. A serious
lack of clarity surrounds the current strategies of the Independent
Directorate of Local Governance, particularly that of the Afghan
Social Outreach Programme (ASOP) in their relationship with counter-insurgency,
the APPF and the existing community based structures developed
to involve communities in the development process. Furthermore,
concerns have been raised that the selection processes within
the ASOP programme for Social Outreach Councils may merely exacerbate
problems linked to political patronage and thereby increase tension
at a local level.
12. It is self-evident that insecurity in
Afghanistan cannot be addressed by military means alone. Creating
a framework for security and stability through developing effective
state institutions and a vibrant civil-society with active participation
of women is equally important. Although important steps have been
taken to resolve the "crisis of capacity", the process
of reform and capacity development would appear to have been painfully
slow and is rarely subject to evaluation. Many departments lack
the capacity and resources to deliver services. As a result the
government is seen as weak and incompetentan image further
aggravated by perceptions of widespread and endemic corruption
within the police force and judiciarythe very institutions
that are meant to enforce the rule of law and order.
13. Afghanistan arguably may have always
had a weak central state, but it has also been one of the poorest
countries in the world. It was poverty as much as the failure
of the central state resulting from decades of conflict that turned
the country into an ungoverned space in which factions with competing
interests and armies have been fighting for power and money. As
a result there have been fundamental changes in the way power
is distributed. The concept of "working with tribes at the
local level" with the so called "grain of the Afghan
is therefore largely misunderstood, short-sighted and misses the
point on several levels.
14. Throughout the conflict rural Afghanistan
has seen an abundance of chiefs, commanders, warlords, etc. whose
power has gone unchecked by a centralised authority. They have
been rulers unto themselves; have built and broken alliances at
will and have profited from foreign support to wars and trade
in weapons and drugs, and therefore have a vested interest in
the continuation of conflict. Many of them are known to have committed
serious crimes and human rights violations. These individuals
have almost entirely replaced the traditional tribal leaders as
local power-holders. With ambiguous allegiances they "mostly
see their power [and survival] in the failure of a centralised
and are therefore an unlikely ally in stabilising Afghanistan.
15. There are currently 40 countries
involved in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force
and OEF with as many as 10 contributing large numbers of
troops. Some would appear to have sought to engage with local
power-holders in an attempt to pacify their provinces or probably
to ensure the protection of their troops. These moves may have
tactical advantages. However, given the highly fragmented local
power system making local "deals" runs the risk of causing
a chaos of the scale that Afghanistan experienced in the years
following the Soviet withdrawal. It will entrench localised fiefdoms
further reversing the progress made to date, and deny the country
of its chance to build an effective state which can provide security
and the rule of law.
16. The British government's policy of strengthening
state institutions has produced noticeable outcomes. Some of the
central or provincial departments that were hardly functional
in 2001 are making slow, but gradual progress, performing
some of their functions, albeit with less efficiency than one
would expect given the length of time that has passed and the
amount of resources that have been spent.
17. Yet, for various reasons the central
government has not been able to extend its authority over the
provinces. Although this has never been considered an easy task,
the international community has sought localised solutions to
fill the governance void at the province level often undermining
the central government in the process.
18. A number of studies reveal that the
present government system is over-centralised with central line
ministries controlling planning, allocation and management of
resources. The provincial departments of those ministries have
little autonomy and their relationship with the provincial governors'
offices is unclear. As a result governance at the sub-national
level remains very weak: rule of law is evidently poor and departments
are either absent or extremely ineffective.
"...like the rest of the Afghan state,
the entire SN (sub-national) structure is afflicted by the sorts
of problems which are characteristic of the Low Income Countries
Under Stress: severe human resource weaknesses, an absence of
properly functioning operational systems, shortages of equipment,
and sparse supporting infrastructure necessary to get things functioning
properly. Afghanistan is particularly badly affected by these
and reform and strengthening of the SN system will be no less
affected by them than any other significant institutional reform
in the society".
19. The impact of the work that has so far
been undertaken to reform the civil service sector overall remains
broadly inconclusive. Many government employees, particularly
in the provinces, would appear to have very vague or poorly conceived
job descriptions and therefore barely understand their roles.
Without defined terms of reference, clear job descriptions and
an understanding of the skills required for the job and the skills
gaps in those recruited, providing training and support, that
is real and measurable, is greatly hindered. Interviews found
this to be a major problem at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation
and Livestock in the north and south. Furthermore, existing efforts
to build government capacity are too often disjointed and tend
to focus overly on the macro-level, which is of course a necessary
component of a more integrated strategy. What has been missing
to date is a more level-appropriate attention to the actual existing
skills and capacities of the rest of the government apparatus,
particularly the very interface that is presented to and affects
the majority of Afghans.
20. The current debate on corruption remains
largely rhetorical and lacks a proper contextual analysis. The
problem is neither new to the present-day Afghanistan nor unique
to countries where states are ineffective. Underlying entrenched
corruption is a vicious circle of insecurity, underdevelopment
and state ineffectiveness. Afghanistan is at the bottom of the
scale on the World Bank index because it has one of the weakest
states in the world and for as long as the public administration,
law enforcement and public accountability agencies remain unreformed,
underdeveloped and therefore ineffective, the problem is likely
to continue. The Afghan government's anti-corruption strategy,
as a comprehensive framework for addressing the issue, rightly
identifies it as a cross cutting issue needing attention across
governance, rule of law and human rights sectors.
21. At a political level the need for dialogue
and reconciliation should not be overlooked. It would appear that
the major troop contributing countries that are fighting the anti-government
forces in the south and east have made attempts to negotiate with
elements from those forces. The outcomes of those negotiations
are either unclear or perceived as questionable and counter-productive.
A major weakness of these initiatives is a lack of a common strategy
and of Afghan perspectives. The role that Afghan civil society
could play in these processes should be recognised and promoted
22. There is a need to integrate what is
sometimes known as "bottom-up" approaches to building
peace in Afghanistan. Experience from Afghanistan and elsewhere
has shown that local disputes have the tendency to flare up into
violence and lead to wider conflict. Disputes over water, land
and family constitute a major source of tension. Regional and
ethnic divisions, until settled through effective conflict resolution
and prevention mechanisms, have the potential to become a major
source of political instability or widespread conflict. Some Afghan
NGOs and civil society groups with support from international
NGOs have done useful work in this regard. Their capacity needs
to be further strengthened.
23. The key to gaining Afghans' support
for and their confidence in the state-building exercise is in
improving their perception of how their needs, including for security
and personal safety, are being met and their rights protected.
Girls' return to school and women's ability to work outside their
homes were widely welcomed, as was the return of the freedoms
and choices Afghans in general had enjoyed before the Taliban
emerged. However, serious failings on the part of the Afghan government
and the international community diminished the confidence of the
population. As noted earlier many commanders whom the majority
of Afghans despised and the Taliban had removed from power were
brought back and "accorded legitimacy". This has led
to widespread public resentment and suspicion. Equally important
in damaging perceptions has been the issue of civilian casualties
caused by the international military forces and the culturally
insensitive conduct of some troops. According to the United Nations
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), airstrikes were responsible
for 25% of all civilian casualties in 2008. According to Afghan
Independent Human Rights Commission "large airstrikes resulting
in tens of civilian casualties were a national focal point of
anger toward PGF [pro-government forces]. While night-time house
searches resulted in fewer deaths, night raids frequently involved
abusive behaviour and violent breaking and entry at night, which
stoke almost as much anger toward PGF as the more lethal airstrikes.
In areas where night raids are prevalent, they were a significant
cause of fear, intimidation, and resentment toward PGF".
24. Despite some progress in the communication
sector, such as roads and mobile phones, and lately energy, infrastructure
remains extremely weak. Revenue collection is abysmally low; in
2007 the total income generated by the central government
through taxes amounted to just over 600 million US Dollars.
As a result the government continues to depend on foreign assistance
to provide basic services, such as health, education and policing.
With an estimated 80% of Afghans depending on agriculture for
their livelihoods the sector is key to food security and economic
Yet since 2002 only 5% and in 2007 just 1% of the USAID
budget was spent in the sector.
25. Afghanistan has a major shortage of
qualified personnel in almost every sector and this is stifling
development. "If the availability of future qualified extension
agents and management personnel does not match the demand of a
modernized agricultural system, all other strategic plans will
be in vain".
Yet, there is a continuing lack of investment in secondary and
tertiary education. The international community claims it is committed
to Afghanistan for the long haul; and therefore it should focus
its funding in projects that build the human capital that is sorely
lacking. Long term strategy means investing heavily in the young
people in Afghanistan making sure that by the time they reach
the age of 25 they will be well equipped to lead the continued
development of their country. Failing to do that now means to
condemn Afghanistan to dependency on foreign funds and external
leadership for the future.
26. Major troop contributing countries have
concentrated their reconstruction and development funds and efforts
in the provinces where their troops are primarily stationed, apparently
to promote their national profile and priorities. This has resulted
in large amounts of development funds being spent in the most
insecure provinces of the east and south often with dubious outcomes.
In contrast the more stable provinces with "poorer"
PRTs have received significantly less resources despite significant
needs and being more conducive to development. Many see this discrepancy
as a disincentive for security and equally worryingly that donors
are only concerned about their own immediate political objectives.
There is a clear need for the UK government and other donors to
review the current policy to ensure that humanitarian and development
aid is delivered on the basis of need and not purely in response
to political/stabilisation objectives.
27. Politicians and military officers from
NATO countries place significant emphasis on "winning hearts
and minds" in Afghanistan through aid and reconstruction.
Commentators routinely equate government "presence"
with infrastructure projects and services. To cite Senator Biden,
"How do you spell `hope' in Dari or in Pashtu? A-s-p-h-a-l-t.
Asphalt. That's how you spell hope, in my humble opinion".
Research shows that a "development brings stability and security"
thesis is simplistic. Following a long history of aid and military
intervention, including during the Soviet occupation, Afghans
are familiar with and suspicious of "hearts and minds"
28. As involvement by the military in development
can place beneficiaries, projects and project implementers at
risk and given doubts about the cost effectiveness and sustainability
of military "quick impact" projects, it is imperative
that military assets are used in areas where they have a comparative
advantage in terms of expertise and knowledge, for example in
developing the capacity of the Afghan security and law enforcement
agencies. The role of PRTs should therefore be redefined accordingly.
Their resources should be devoted to build up the capacity of
the security and law enforcement agencies by providing adequate
and sustained training and mentoring, material and logistics support.
29. It is important that the commitments
that were made in the Paris Conference and through the Afghanistan
Compact to improve aid effectiveness are honoured. NGOs have written
extensively on this issue and in spite of some improvements particularly
after the appointment of Kai Eide as the UN SRSG, serious problems
continue to persist in aid coordination, focus and prioritisation.
BAAG's written submission to the International Development Select
Committee (2007) provides a useful analysis of those issues and
suggestions for ways forward.
30. Chronic underdevelopment aggravated
by decades of conflict, years of drought, harsh winters and high
food prices have left millions in need of humanitarian assistance
with the country remaining vulnerable to a humanitarian crisis.
About eight million people are considered high-risk food insecure.
The government of Afghanistan and the United Nations have duly
acknowledged the problem by launching two humanitarian appeals
in the last six months. As of January 09 only 50% of the
appeal launched in July had been funded.
Whilst we acknowledge the British government's contribution, we
believe they should use their position and influence with other
major donors to raise support for those appeals.
31. The humanitarian community has widely
welcomed the decision of the United Nations to establish a separate
Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Afghanistan.
We believe that OCHA's role in monitoring and coordinating humanitarian
assistance is crucial and should be supported and expanded.
32. Due to insecurity humanitarian agencies
find it increasingly difficult to reach large parts of the country
to provide assistance. Aid workers are facing more risks and challenges
now than they have been throughout the conflict. Not only were
38 aid workers killed in 2008 but the threats of abduction
and intimidation are a constant source of fear. Sadly, community
acceptance and protection as the fundamental and most effective
strategy that aid agencies have relied upon during the Afghan
conflict appear to be diminishing, largely due to their perceived
association with the military and donor-country strategic political
objectives. For example, research shows that fearing reprisals
by the anti-government forces, a local community has warned an
aid agency that they could no longer guarantee their safety because
troops have been seen visiting the agency's office.
33. The safety of aid workers and humanitarian
access appears to have been further compromised by the continuing
involvement of the military in delivering assistance. According
to international guidelines for situations of hostility the use
of military assets for providing assistance should only be kept
as a last resort, ie where civilian alternatives do not exist.
In Afghanistan those guidelines have been continually breached,
raising serious questions about the donor countries' commitments
to the principles enshrined under the International Humanitarian
34. Many of the issues currently facing
Afghanistan cannot be resolved if its neighbours, particularly
Pakistan and Iran, and other key players in the region do not
subscribe to and support efforts aimed at bringing security and
stability to areas affected by the conflict. The spread of violence
in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan is a cause
for concern. Hundreds of thousands have left their homes and at
one point thousands from Pakistan crossed the border into Afghanistan.
Reports that Iran has resumed the deportation of Afghans is also
Areas affected by the movement of people from Pakistan and Iran
as well as those coping with internally displaced people resulting
from conflict within Afghanistan remain extremely vulnerable to
35. The Afghanistan Compact benchmark 7.5 highlights
the need for the right conditions for returning Afghans.
Specific needs that are crucial for a sustainable return strategy
include housing, access to safe drinking water, education, health
facilities and employment opportunities. Many Afghans who returned
to rural areas in 2007 are still not being adequately supported
to rebuild their lives. Continued financial support for housing
is critical, as is support for livelihoods programmes for returnees
if their sustainable return is to be achieved.
36. There is an obvious need for a common
European policy in relation to Afghanistanone that goes
beyond being a good donorand focuses on a more effective
debate with the United States, better involvement in regional
diplomacy and having a more concerted and co-ordinated influence
over national political issues within Afghanistan. The United
Kingdom could play a leading role in trying to promote a European
consensus on Afghanistan with the aim of creating greater harmony
across security, humanitarian and development sectors, as well
as exerting more influence on the United States on issues such
as aid effectiveness, human rights and civilian protection.
We ask HMG:
37. To play a leading role in trying to promote
a European consensus on Afghanistan with the aim of creating greater
harmony across security, humanitarian and development sectors,
as well as exerting more influence on the United States on issues
such as aid effectiveness, human rights and civilian protection.
Security and Governance
38. To help improve security by reinforcing,
and investing more in, the Afghan security forces, particularly
the Afghan National Police, through adequate and sustained training,
and by providing the necessary material and logistical support.
39. To oppose defence initiatives that will further
strengthen the power base of local warlords, will increase the
proliferation of weapons among civilians and that will divert
funds away from reforming and strengthening the Afghan security
40. To ensure that security or local community
empowerment initiatives, such as Afghan Social Outreach Programme,
do not heighten local tensions by empowering those who are recruited
to carry them out to manipulate them to their own benefit or to
the benefit of those within their own patronage system. In this
context, HMG needs to ensure that it has a deep understanding
of the dynamics and power relations within communities and conducts
regular conflict mappings.
41. To encourage international donors to
conduct an independent review of disarmament programmes and to
demonstrate a renewed and tougher implementation of DDR and DIAG
42. To step up measures aimed at improving
local governance by reforming and developing the capacity of the
public service departments and addressing the issue of multiple
structures. Review the impact of the Provincial Reconstruction
Teams on governance. In supporting programmes, such as ASOP, HMG
should be aware of, and take measures to minimise, their potential
for exacerbating local level political tensions.
43. To work with other donors and the Afghan
government to take adequate measures toward the implementation
of the anti-corruption strategy and to recognise that civil society
and parliament have a crucial role to play in this respect and
that their monitoring and accountability roles need further strengthening.
Capacity Development and Civil Society
44. To acknowledge that the pace of capacity
building within local government is not sufficient at present
to match the range of challenges faced. In this context we call
on HMG to give particular attention to NGO capacity to provide
basic services and livelihoods support for populations outside
of the government programmes as well as to play a part in developing
the capacity of government staff.
45. To encourage bottom-up approaches to peace-building
in Afghanistan through the provision of support to civil society
organisations engaged with local communities to strengthen conflict
resolution and prevention mechanisms.
46. To invest in promoting the role of civil
society organisations in both holding the government to account,
especially in the area of human rights, and in building government
capacity and to give greater attention to the sustainable development
of national and local civil society.
Aid Effectiveness and Humanitarian Assistance
47. To continue to advocate strongly for
improved donor coordination to ensure an integrated approach to
support national development priorities.
48. To allocate aid according to levels of humanitarian
need and the potential for sustainable development; ensuring a
more geographically balanced, inclusive and broad-based approach
and not one driven by strategic political and military objectives.
49. To encourage a comprehensive review,
across all troop contributing countries, of the impact of the
military led and implemented assistance projects.
50. To acknowledge the valuable role of
the British Non-Governmental Organisations in continuing to deliver
humanitarian, reconstruction and development assistance and the
risks they are taking in doing so. To encourage a serious discussion
within Whitehall about funding for NGOs and support for them to
put in place effective measures to minimise risks to their staff.
51. To continue to contribute to, and encourage
funding for, the humanitarian appeals and support the UN Office
for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to deliver on their mandate
to improve humanitarian coordination and access.
52. To monitor the impact of the escalation
of the conflict in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan
to ensure that those who have become displaced have access to
53. To promote a renewed commitment among
donor and troop-contributing countries and the Government of Afghanistan
to the implementation of international instruments regarding the
protection and promotion of human rights. In line with UN Security
Council Resolution 1325 we recommend that the Afghan Government
reaffirms its commitment to putting an end to impunity and to
prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity; war crimes,
including those relating to sexual violence against women and
girls; and to exclude such crimes from amnesty provisions.
54. Jointly with other troop-contributing countries
to continue to look into ways in which the danger to civilians
as a result of air strikes and other military operations are minimised
and that those operations are conducted with utmost respect for
the rights enshrined under the International Humanitarian law
and Afghan customs. Similar measures should be taken to protect
civilians who become caught in the conflict on the Pakistan side
of the border.
5 March 2009
167 BBC/ABC opinion poll at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/05_02_09afghan_poll_2009.pdf Back
Oxfam Memo to the US President see at http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2009-01-31/obama-new-strategy-must-avert-humanitarian-crisis-afghanistan Back
Forty thousand people die every year in Afghanistan from hunger
and poverty, UN Security Council (Dec 2008), "Report of the
Security Council mission to Afghanistan", 21-28 November
2008. S/2008/782 Back
Afghan Hearts, Afghan Minds-Exploring Afghan perceptions of civil-military
relations in http://www.baag.org.uk/publications/reports.htm (2008)
and Service Delivery and Governance at the Sub-National Level
in Afghanistan http://siteresources.worldbank.org/SOUTHASIAEXT/Resources/Publications/448813-1185293547967/4024814-1185293572457/report.pdf,
Fight Poverty to End Insecurity-Afghan perceptions of insecurity,
Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium (HRRAC)-http://www.afghanadvocacy.org.af Back
For more information see BAAG paper on Community Defence Volunteer
Units (CDVU) in www.baag.org.uk Back
For more on Afghan perceptions of corruption see a report of the
same title in http://iwaweb.org/index_en.html Back
David Miliband, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090205/debtext/90205-0014.htm Back
Norah Niland, "Justice Postponed-the marginalisation of human
rights in Afghanistan", in Nation Building Unravelled (Kumarian
Press, Inc, 2004) 61-82 Back
From Hope to Fear-an Afghan perspective on operations of pro-government
forces in Afghanistan, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission,
December 2008, http://www.aihrc.org.af/2008_Dec/PDF_Pro_G/Eng_Pro_G.pdf Back
Oxfam Memo to the US President see at http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2009-01-31/obama-new-strategy-must-avert-humanitarian-crisis-afghanistan Back
The MAIL Implementation and Investment Plan for Programme Seven:
Develop Institutional and Human Capacity for Sustained Growth-Page
Afghan Hearts, Afghan Minds-Exploring Afghan perceptions of civil-military
relations, http://www.baag.org.uk/publications/reports.htm Back
Table III Executive Summary of Afghanistan Compact Benchmarks,
JCMB annual report May 2007 Back