Case Studies

Afghanistan: “Democratic Policing”

In addition to the challenges of lack of training, policies, facilities and public trust, Afghanistan was a testing ground for multiple interventions to reform the police all happening at the same time. These included initiatives related to counterinsurgency policing, counter-narcotics policing, intelligence-led policing, arming local communities to act like police, and community or democratic policing. Each approach relied on a distinct analysis of the security problems and relied on different, if not competing, theories of how to improve policing. While many programmes assumed the problem with policing stemmed from a lack of weapons or training in how to use them, or a problem of discipline and corruption, or a lack of training in human rights, one police programme took a different approach based on the belief that public lack of trust in and community relationships with the police was the fundamental problem.

Recognizing the need to coordinate police reform and development with governance, justice reform, disarmament, and other government efforts, the Afghan Ministry of Interior asked the UN Development Programme to conduct research and write a strategy paper for police-community engagement in the Afghan context. Consultations with diverse stakeholders including parliamentarians, NGOs, media, academics, and police personnel, and community members, especially vulnerable groups such as women, ethnic minorities and economically deprived communities, provided. Unlike other police reform efforts, this programme was “people-oriented” and was almost completely Afghan-led, with Afghan civil society organizations playing a prominent role in designing the program.

The Afghan Civil Society Forum-organization (ACSFo) and other civil society groups helped to facilitate the research and design of the programme known as Police e Mardumi (in Dari language) or Da Toleni Police (in Pashto language). While similar to other community policing programmes in other countries, it was referred to as the “democratic policing” programme to distinguish it from the confusing use of the term “community policing” within the Afghan context to refer to a parallel programme also known as the Afghanistan Local Police (ALP) initiative, based on arming community fighters to protect their own region. The democratic policing programme had four main components: training of the community and police first separately and then together; developing neighbourhood watch committees made up of community members; facilitating community-police dialogue at the local, district and provincial levels; and problem-solving forums and mechanisms to invite public reporting on security concerns.

The programme began with three types of training. While other police training programmes focused more on the “hard security” skills of enemy identification, use of weapons and force, the democratic policing programme spent two weeks focusing primarily on the “soft skills” of Islamic-based human rights, communication skills, leadership skills and conflict resolution methods, psychosocial counselling, legal issues related to rights of vulnerable groups and police and state roles and responsibilities. Police received training in human rights and police procedures relating to detention. A separate training for the community provided skills in advocacy and encouragement to see police not as “big men” who could not be approached, but as public servants whose job requires them to listen to community members. A third set of training brought the police and community together to learn about the rule of law. Unlike other police training programmes that relied heavily on interpreters and lectures, this democratic policing programme used roleplays, pictures and group dialogue to foster practical learning and build relationships in the training. This was important given the high rates of illiteracy.

Relationship building and joint problem solving were central features of this democratic policing program. A neighbourhood watch committee formed in each community. It was made up of seven community members, including at least one or two women. In some communities, religious leaders also participated in the neighbourhood watch program. Religious leaders have historically played important roles in overseeing the security sector, so could lend the project a sense of legitimacy.

ACSFo and other civil society groups facilitated bimonthly meetings between police and communities, including the neighbourhood watch committees. At these meetings, the community identified security challenges and designed local strategies to solve them. For example, the community could report on their concerns for children’s safety walking to school and together with the police, they could develop a plan for protecting school children. In some cases, these community-police forums expanded beyond public safety concerns toward a broader human security agenda. In Samangan province, for example, the community identified water scarcity as a primary threat to their security. In some cases, police-community meetings at district level were very tense. The programme facilitators decided to focus on the provincial level instead. Community representatives brought their concerns about police bribery, corruption and laziness to the provincial chief of police. At the next month’s meeting, the chief of police came with answers to the community and commitments to address the problems. These meetings increased police accountability to the public. Police realized they could be fired for reports from the community based on their performance.

In addition, the democratic policing project created two mechanisms for public to report information and grievances to or about the police. Police stations set up “information desks” and created call-in hotlines and/or complaint and suggestion boxes to receive information and complaints from the public. The complaint and suggestion boxes were distributed in front of schools, parks, and mosques. Every fifteen days, representatives from the police, community, local government and a religious leader would open these boxes and decide how to respond. For example, in one case a girl put in a complaint in front of her school naming the location of a man whom she had seen kill a woman. In another case, someone made a complaint against a specific government official who was corrupt and not doing his job. In the case of a group of girls that had run away from home to escape force child marriage, the community and police were able to negotiate with families and find ways of returning many girls to their homes and allowing them to continue their education. Most of the complaints were anonymous, making it difficult to investigate some accusations. But in some cases, the boxes provided needed information about how to protect the community.

In provinces with severe violence, such as Kunduz, the information desks and crisis response hotlines were the only feature of this programme in operation. There were no participatory dialogues where community members could discuss security threats and options for addressing them with the local police. It was assumed that the democratic policing concept to facilitate dialogue between police and community members would not work in these regions.[1] However, Afghan media worked with civil society and the Ministry of the Interior to produce a large scale public awareness campaigns using mobile phones, social media, and TV and radio dramas to provide the public with a positive vision of the police as well as citizen rights and information on how to use the 119 crisis response hotline.

The Afghan Civil Society Forum-organization and other civil society groups also monitored and reported on the progress of the program, building in a system of civil society oversight and accountability of the police to the public. Both police and community members believed that the problem-solving, participatory process to identify security threats and develop human security strategies between the police and the community improved their relationship.[2]


Excerpt from the book Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches edited by Lisa Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli and published by The Alliance for Peacebuilding, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.


[1]Doel Mukerjee and Mushtaq Rahim. “Police e Mardumi: Indigenous District-Level Civilian Policing in Afghanistan” in Global Community Policing. Edited by Arvind Verma, Dilip K. Das, and Manoj Abraham. CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group, 2013. p. 58.
[2] See Afghan Civil Society Forum-organization. “Baseline Study for Pilot Democratic Policing Across 8 Districts of Northern Kabul Province.” Published in cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Interior and the UN Development Program. March 2010.

case study

Afghanistan: Mediation-based DDR

International priorities on counterterrorism delayed and contorted Afghanistan’s DDR program. The 2001 Bonn Agreement after the Taliban fell did not include DDR. DDR began in Afghanistan in 2003 to address anti-Taliban militias. The first DDR programme offered individual former militia commanders political appointments as an incentive to go through DDR. This had the negative side effect of setting into place political appointees who the public accused of human rights abuses and corruption.[1] Rewarding these militia leaders with political appointment created a sense that counterterrorism was more important than human rights or the rule of law. It entrenched public distrust in the Afghan government and in turn also contributed to Taliban recruitment.

Without setting up DDR encampments to entice whole militia units to go through DDR together, donor governments channelled lower level former militia went through an individual DDR process. Beginning with soldiers giving up their weapons in a parade and attending a demobilization workshop in which they promised not to take up arms again, the programmes offered demobilized individuals a package of food and clothing. However, without a peace agreement in place, DDR did not stick. Some demobilized combatants turned back to militia groups and some went to the drug trade.[2] At best DDR was a waste of time and money. At worse, the contentious political appointments resulting from these efforts entrenched public distrust of the Afghan government and increased Taliban recruitment.

A new generation of DDR programmes imagined that local Taliban commanders and their groups could disarm together through a mediated process that would address local grievances. A story from Helmand Province inspired this new model. An armed opposition group had agreed to stop fighting the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), reject out of area fighters, remove or show the location of planted IEDs (improvised explosive devices), allow freedom of movement to patrols, and accept Afghan National Security Force checkpoints. In return, the Afghan government agreed to increase Afghan security forces to ensure that there are Afghans partnered in all home search and patrols with international forces to address widespread complaints of international forces searching Afghan homes. The Afghan government also promised to begin short-term cash for work and long-term economic development opportunities for ex-combatants.

Afghan civil society was the only stakeholder in Afghanistan with the capacity to design and carry out a mediation-based DDR model. Afghan civil society organizations (CSOs) have been carrying out peacebuilding programmes in Afghanistan since the early 1990s to mediate water and land disputes, domestic violence and family issues as well as conflicts within community development councils over setting development priorities. One Afghan CSO[3] designed a programme to harness Afghan peacebuilding capacity to this new generation of DDR. The Afghan CSO facilitated a pilot DDR programme based on mediation and grievance resolution from October 2010 through January 2011 in 3 provinces and 16 communities including the following components.

Rapid Response Team: The Afghan government identified emerging reintegration opportunities. Government staff provided permission letters to the Afghan CSO’s field staff to conduct an independent assessment of economic, ideological, political and security grievances among the reintegrees and the communities to which they would return. This step provided information about the core grievances driving the insurgency. Those interviewed included commanders, reintegrees and members of communities ranging from households to elders and religious leaders, labourers, traders, and district level political leadership. This assessment helped identify potential “internally-generated” incentives for DDR including face-saving mechanisms for reintegrating, local security guarantees, and promoting local coexistence so as to foster successful reintegration rather than relying on “externally-generated” incentives such as financial payments.

Provincial and Local Community Mediation and Grievance Resolution: Government authorities identified a mix of diverse provincial leaders to join Provincial Peace and Reintegration Committees. The Afghan CSO trained provincial and local mediation and grievance resolution teams composed of two representatives from each group: government representatives, members of non-state armed opposition groups, and community representatives including local village elders, local mullahs, and community members.

In some communities, local peace committees already existed as part of the nation-wide network of existing Community Development Councils. Where there were no peace committees, the Afghan CSO helped to set them up.

The mediation process included three phases. First, the process identified each stakeholder’s key issues or grievances necessary to reach a DDR agreement. Second, the mediation explored options for resolving each of the issues. Third, the mediation developed a signed agreement that met all stakeholders’ interests. By the end of January 2011, the Afghan CSO had trained 400 people in three provinces to help the reintegrees and communities cope with reintegration, leveraging both formal and informal justice systems. The programme also improved local capacity for addressing longer term conflicts directly related to the reintegrees as well as other issues such as local disputes over land, water, debts, domestic violence and other community issues.

Monitoring and Assessment Team: Afghan CSO research teams of four to six members monitored the roll out of the DDR programme in three provinces. The research teams also conducted focus groups to identify the effects of reintegration on the community, and track overall human security at the village and district level. To do this, the CSO developed a research tool based on locally identified human security indicators measuring people’s ability to move around, provide for their families and access governance systems and service. The human security indicator tool measured the accuracy of perceptions by counting actual events, such as the number of visits made to specific districts by local, provincial and national government representatives and the number of police interaction with the community. The research monitored trends and changes of both the former combatants and the communities into which they were reintegrating in terms of physical security, freedom of movement, economic well-being and access to governance and justice. The methodology provided direct comparison across provinces, including both qualitative and quantitative information delivered on a monthly and quarterly basis. The Afghan CSO then wrote policy recommendations for security policymakers based on the human security research.

Future DDR in Afghanistan: Political opposition to this approach eventually made it impossible for this programme to continue. Some of the former militia leaders cum provincial leaders who had benefited from political appointments during the first round of DDR may have obstructed a mediation-based DDR effort that would bring a new set of political rivals from the battleground. However, a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan will create an unprecedented urgency for DDR.[4] The lessons from this peacebuilding approach to DDR will be essential to avoid the failures of past DDR processes such as technical fixes and short-sighted political appointments that undermine human security. DDR must address underlying grievances and needs, and reknit social relationships.

Excerpt from the book Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches edited by Lisa Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli and published by The Alliance for Peacebuilding, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.


[1] Patricia Gossman. Transitional Justice and DDR: The Case of Afghanistan. International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). June 2009.
[2] Caroline A. Hartzell. Missed Opportunities The Impact of DDR on SSR in Afghanistan. US Institute of Peace Special Report 270. April 2011.
[3] The name of the Afghan CSO is withheld intentionally given the security risks to civil society in Afghanistan.
[4] DeeDee Derksen. Reintegrating Armed Groups in Afghanistan: Lessons from the Past. US Institute of Peace. PeaceBrief 168, March 7, 2014.

case study

Expenditure management reviews of the security system in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone


In 2003, the government of Afghanistan requested support from the World Bank and DFID to conduct a review of public finance in the security system. The review followed concerns of the minister of finance that the entire security system was rapidly becoming fiscally unsustainable, mainly due to large off-budget transfers that had direct impact on government on-budget spending. In 2006, DFID commissioned a similar review of public expenditures in Sierra Leone to gauge the overall effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the security system. The main objectives of both reviews from a public financial management (PFM) and development perspective were to:

• Gain as complete an understanding as possible of the current level and structure of security expenditures, recent trends, and likely future expenditure requirements based on current plans.
• Assess the extent to which the strategies that are used are coherent and the government institutions guide public expenditure allocations.
• Review processes for determining funding levels, expenditure allocations, budget execution and post-execution functions, and assess the extent to which they follow sound PFM principles.
• Describe the institutional framework for the security system and ascertain the extent to which it embeds or is conducive to sound PFM.

Entry point

In both cases the reviews were conducted with and for national authorities in order to strengthen national analytical capacities in policy making, planning and budgeting. The reviews were able to consolidate lessons learned across a wide range of stakeholders, and the various findings strengthened reform-related decision making with regard to institutional mandates, staffing and policy management issues. In Afghanistan, the review allowed the ministry of finance to engage in discussions with
the National Security Council, as well as international partners funding the military and police reform programmes. In the case of Sierra Leone, the review has provided a platform for costing the entire five-year security sector reform programme.

Lessons learned

PFM principles are applicable — The reviews have demonstrated that standard PFM reviews can be applied to the security system just as they can to any other sector, such as education and health.

PFM reviews are valuable to assess sustainability — The reviews have allowed national governments and their international supporters to rapidly assess the extent to which national authorities will be able to take control of functions that are currently funded externally, off-budget or through grants.

Support for SSR should be consistent with PFM principles — Continued off-budget financing of security sector reform programmes undermines national ownership, co-ordination, and potentially long-term fiscal discipline.


The failure to address the difficulties of transition led to significant differences within DFID and within the international community more broadly as to the role of the police in Sierra Leone. Entrenched positions developed as to whether the police should be viewed as having primary responsibility for security, or whether they should be embraced as part of the justice community. The answer is both, but a weak migration plan between two discrete programmes encouraged these conceptual differences to take root.

case study

Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan: the EU’s contribution

European Union Institute for Security Studies

Selected Resources 

Publication: Militarized versus Civilian Policing: Problems of Reforming the Afghan National Police, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

Publication: Reforming Afghanistan's Police, International Crisis Group

The EU engages in aspects of Security Sector Reform (SSR) through EUPOL Afghanistan, the police mission launched in 2007, and through the European Commission’s contributions to justice reform in the country. Based on an analysis of past efforts at police reform by the EU and other European and international actors, this Occasional Paper identifies a set of internal and external coordination challenges that hamper mission success.

Internally, institutional constraints have meant that the coordination of EU instruments has been difficult to achieve. Member States, meanwhile, have until recently focused primarily on bilateral contributions to police and justice reform in the case of Germany and Italy, respectively, or on their military contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Externally, the resource gap and differing philosophies underlying police reform on the part of the US (the biggest contributor to police reform) and the EU have meant that coordination has been lacking, and existing coordination bodies unable to fulfil their tasks.

Limited resources deployed in pursuit of police reform exacerbate these difficulties as inadequate commitments of political, material and personnel resources all too often translate into a loss of political influence at the strategic level.

case study

Gender and Security Sector Reform: Examples from the Ground

Selected Resources

Training Resource Package: Guide to Integrating Gender in SSR Training- DCAF

Video: Gender in SSR-Stephen Jackson, Chief of Staff at the UN Office in Burundi

The Examples from the Ground are concrete illustrations of ways in which a gender perspective has been integrated in different security sector institutions around the world. They range from measures to counter human trafficking in Kosovo, to women’s organisations’ involvement with security institutions in Nepal, to female parliamentarians’ contribution to post-conflict reconstruction in Rwanda. These examples can help policymakers, trainers and educators better understand and demonstrate the linkages between gender and SSR.

The examples are organised around the following nine themes, for which a short introduction is provided:

• Police Reform and Gender
• Defence Reform and Gender
• Justice Reform and Gender
• Penal Reform and Gender
• Border Management and Gender
• Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• National Security Policy-Making and Gender
• Civil Society Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• SSR Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender

For downloading individual examples and case studies in Integrating Gender into SSR Training on Kosovo, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Hungary, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Central African Republic, Indonesia, Peru, Somalia, Afghanistan, the Russian Federation, Tajikstan, Rwand, Brazil, Israel, Jamaica, Nepal, the United States, and the regions of West Africa and the Pacific, kindly follow the link. 

case study



Police Corruption

Police corruption is a universal challenge in peacebuilding.  It wastes resources, undermines security and justice, slows economic development, and alienates citizens from their governments.  Some experts argue that efforts to curb police corruption are hopeless, or at best secondary.  Others maintain that attacking oppressive, unfair abuses is where reform efforts must start.  On November 16, 2011, USIP hosted a panel of distinguished experts who discussed the root causes of and potential remedies for police corruption.  This public event introduced a new USIP Special Report entitled “Police Corruption: What Past Scandals Teach about Current Challenges."

For more details about the event, kindly follow the link.


Insights and lessons into long-term SSR programming - Part 1

Stephen Jackson, the Chief of Staff of the UN Office in Burundi, provides insight into following topics of interest in SSR programming:

  • perverse incentives in DDR programming
  • the principle of Do No Harm in peacedeals and ceasefires
  • bridging the capacity gap
  • the need to incentivise a national security strategy process
  • the sustainability of SSR and the need for a long-term vision

See Part 2 of this interview.

Here are a few quotes from the interview

the best form of hygiene is sunlight [re budgetary transparency]

It takes a full generation to move an institution up one notch in institutional strength. It's not to take Afghanistan and turn it tomorrow into Switzerland but to take Afghanistan and maybe get it to be Nigeria - that takes a generation...

We over-estimate dependency a great deal - absence of institutional strength and financial strength are two related problems which aren't going to be addressed in the first 25 years...

Maybe the problem isn't handing [an SSR programme] over too late, it's having too short a vision.


Clip 2 from The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan

As the West pours billions of dollars into the fight against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, an ancient tradition (banned when the Taliban were in power) has re-emerged across the rest of the country. Many hundreds of young boys living in extreme poverty are lured off the streets on the promise of a new life away from destitution, unaware their real fate is to be used for entertainment by the warlords and other powerful men of Afghanistan. Having gained remarkable access inside a sexual exploitation ring, award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi investigates this illegal practice, the consequences of which are shrouded by a focus on the war. The film exposes the lack of support from those in authority and explores possible responses to the plight of children in this conflict zone. Update: March 1st 2011 Dancing Boys has been nominated for a Royal Television Society Award in the single documentary category.


The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan - CLOVER-FILMS.COM (Dir. Jamie Doran 2010).m4v

Award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi investigates a sexual exploitation ring. The film exposes the lack of support from those in authority and explores possible responses to the plight of children in this conflict zone.


Barat Ali Batoor: The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan

Barat Ali Batoor focused his project on bacha bazi (literally "boy play") in Afghanistan, a practice in which young boys are sold to and kept by male patrons—often powerful warlords, former military commanders, and wealthy businessmen—for entertainment at private gatherings, for use as sexual objects, and as a sign of prestige. The bacha bereesh (meaning "boy without a beard") range in age from as young as 11 to 18 and are trained to dance and sing in women's clothing, with bells tied to their feet. As many are abducted into the practice or are sold by their families, orphaned, homeless, and underprivileged boys are particularly vulnerable. Although illegal in Afghanistan and condemned as a form of child trafficking and sexual slavery, prohibition of bacha bazi is rarely enforced, as many of its patrons hold positions of power and influence. Batoor documented the lives of former bacha bereesh in Kabul who were able to escape their owners. In doing so, Batoor aims to shed light on not only how the ancient practice of bacha bazi has been revived, but also how it has affected these youth over time.Meet the Recipients of the 2009 Production Grant for Photographers from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. In 2009, the Open Society Documentary Photography Project launched a new grant program to support photographers from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan.


Public Expenditure Management & SSR - Nicole Ball

Nicole Ball discusses public expenditure management and security sector reforms. She talks about her extensive experience working in countries emerging from conflict about how proper public expenditure management facilitates a better connection between security and development.


Inside the Issues Ep. 2:

In episode two, Senior Fellow and Afghan expert Mark Sedra traces the roots of today's governance challenges in Afghanistan, and explains why he is now less optimistic that the country will eventually be stabilized.



Afghanistan : la paix à quel prix ?

Les Afghans attendent les résultats de l’élection présidentielle du 28 septembre. Dans un pays frappé par des attentats à répétition, la population, usée par plusieurs décennies de guerre, aspire plus que jamais à la paix. Pour y parvenir il faudra composer avec les Talibans.

Pour écouter le podcast Afghanistan : la paix à quel prix ?, veuillez suivre le lien. 


Afghanistan: une armée en péril

Cet épisode de Grand Reportage prend la direction de l’est de l’Afghanistan, sur la base militaire Maiwand dans la province du Logar. Rencontre avec les soldats de l’armée afghane. Dans quel état d’esprit sont-ils, alors qu’un retrait des troupes étrangères est sur la table des pourparlers entre Américains et Talibans ?

To listen to the podcast Afghanistan: une armée en péril, kindly follow the link. 


Analysis on the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan

Following the bombing outside a Kabul voter registration center, Scott Worden shares his analysis and commentary about the continuing war in Afghanistan, where he says that most agree that a military victory is unlikely. The conflict's grinding stalemate and upcoming elections concern Worden, especially with the announcement today by the Taliban of a new fighting season and their rejection of President Ghani’s peace offering.

To listen to the podcast, Analysis on the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, please follow the link.


Progress and Challenges to Transition in Afghanistan

Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, Commander, NATO Training Mission and Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, speaking at the Royal United Services Institute.


Policy and Research Papers

A Tale of Two Pragmatisms: How to increase the meaningful participation of women in Afghanistan’s police force

The process of including women in the Afghan police force goes back to the 1960s. It was boosted after 2001 by international support for the Security Sector Reform and Women, Peace and Security agendas. Nevertheless, progress has been slow because of persistent societal and institutional barriers. Inclusive security is generally approached from two perspectives: the security sector’s pragmatic operational perspective, which prioritizes effectiveness; and a pragmatic feminist perspective, based on women’s rights and equality. Both play an important role in achieving inclusive security in Afghanistan, but they can only succeed if they increasingly complement each other.

To access the full paper A Tale of Two Pragmatisms: How to increase the meaningful participation of women in Afghanistan’s police force, kindly follow the link. 


The Civil Challenges to Peace in Afghanistan

This report addresses the apparent failure of the peace process to focus on creating a stable post conflict state. It states that the afghan government faces a set of civil challenges which are as serious as the challenges of creating a functioning peace with the Taliban.

To read the full report The Civil Challenges to Peace in Afghanistan, kindly follow the link


Engaging Civil Society in Legislative Drafting: Current Practice and Opportunities for Afghanistan

This research memorandum was commissioned following the enactment of legislation in Afghanistan in 2018 imposing obligations on the government to release draft legislative documents to the public. It examines the current situation in Afghanistan in relation to public consultation on draft legislation. It identifies potential mechanisms and guidelines to support development of a quality public consultation procedure in Afghanistan through analysis of the national context, and comparative examination of public consultation processes by international organizations, and in other jurisdictions.

For full access to the report Engaging Civil Society in Legislative Drafting: Current Practice and Opportunities for Afghanistan, kindly follow the link. 


Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems

IDLO has produced a practitioner brief which is part of its series on "Navigating Complex Pathways to Justice: Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems” to advance policy dialogue and distil lessons from programming and research but also to help strengthen customary and informal justice systems as an integral part of providing access to justice for all. This Practitioner Brief offers a set of concrete tools, recommendations and good practices to support engagement with customary and informal justice systems.

For full access to the practitioner brief, Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems, kindly follow the link. 

You can also have access to their policy and issue brief on the same topic, Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems, by kindly following the link.


Incremental Peace in Afghanistan

This paper argues that a radical new approach is needed in Afghanistan to build peace step-by-step. There needs to be a move beyond peace rhetoric, through a progressive, step-by-step process towards a political settlement which builds stability, confidence and legitimacy over time. The short-term objective should be a reduction in violence. The long-term objective should be to achieve a more inclusive peace process that is representative of, and endorsed by, Afghan society as a whole. In this report, contributors including Afghan and international men and women from academia, the military, government, armed opposition and civil society, examine the prospects for peace in the country, and how this could be achieved. 

For full access to the report, Incremental Peace in Afghanistan, please follow the link. 


Life Under the Taliban Shadow Government

Based on first-hand interviews with more than 160 Taliban fighters and officials, as well as civilians, this paper examines how the Taliban govern the lives of Afghans living under their rule. Taliban governance is more coherent than ever before; high-level commissions govern sectors such as finance, health, education, justice and taxation, with clear chains of command and policies from the leadership based in Pakistan down to villages in Afghanistan. 

Where the government and aid agencies provide public goods and services, the Taliban coopt and control them. Health and education in Taliban areas are a hybrid of NGO and state-provided services, operating according to Taliban rules. The Taliban also regulate utilities and communications, collecting on the bills of the state electricity company in at least eight of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and controlling around a quarter of the country’s mobile phone coverage.

Justice provision has also become increasingly far-reaching. Taliban taxes either coopt Islamic finance concepts or mimic official state systems.

For full access to the report, Life Under the Taliban Shadow Government, please follow the link. 


Untangling the Web: A Blueprint for Reforming American Security Sector Assistance

The United States transformed its approach to national security after the attacks on September 11, 2001. As terrorist organizations spread across the globe, so too did the U.S security presence. Now, after more than a decade and a half of costly war, the United States has turned to foreign militaries and police to fight threats before they reach America’s borders.

For full access to the report Untangling the Web: A Blueprint for Reforming American Security Sector Assistance, kindly follow the link.


Afghanistan in 2016: A Survey of the Afghan People

The national mood in Afghanistan is at a record low, and Afghans are pessimistic because of insecurity, corruption, and rising unemployment and slow job growth. At the same time, more Afghans, particularly rural Afghan men, now support women’s right to vote and women’s right to work outside the home than ever before. The 2016 Survey of the Afghan People  polled 12,658 Afghan respondents from 16 ethnic groups across all 34 provinces, including insecure and physically challenging environments. The annual survey is the longest-running and broadest nationwide survey of Afghan attitudes and opinions. Since 2004, theSurvey  has gathered the opinions of more than 87,000 Afghan men and women, providing a unique longitudinal portrait of evolving public perceptions of security, the economy, governance and government services, elections, media, women’s issues, and migration.

For full access to Afghanistan in 2016: A Survey of the Afghan People


Afghan Women and Violent Extremism

In Afghanistan, the actions and narratives of violent extremist groups threaten to roll back many of the gains and hard-won rights of women over the last fifteen years. Women have long been cast in a binary light—as either disempowered victims or deviant anomalies—but in fact are involved in a wide range of activities, from peacebuilding to recruiting, sympathizing, perpetrating, and preventing violent extremism. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews in the field in Afghanistan, this report delves into the roles women play in the context of violent extremism. A deeper understanding of these roles and the reasons behind them, the report asserts, is critical to effective policy and programming.

For full access to the blog and original research article Afghan Women and Violent Extremism, kindly follow the link. 


Our fast-growing cities are becoming hotbeds of unrest. It doesn’t have to be that way

This policy brief from the World Economic Forum is drawing attention to the results of the Habitat III conference, which took place in Ecuador from 17-20 October and the promising policy ideas with potential to benefit billions of people living in cities. the author points out that in the New Urban Agenda, the document to guide the next 20 years of urbanization, the security and urbanization strategists are called to talk to each other as it has become indisputable that the way cities develop has a huge impact on security. 

Find the full brief on Our fast-growing cities are becoming hotbeds of unrest. It doesn’t have to be that way. 


The Strategic Costs of Civilian Harm: Applying Lessons from Afghanistan to Current and Future Conflicts


During the early years of the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, the U.S. military was killing too many civilians and depriving too many others of basic rights and liberties. By 2008, nearly 40 percent of civilian deaths in Afghanistan resulted from U.S. military operations.

The level of “civilian harm”—the military’s term for killing innocent civilians and causing major political, social, and economic disruption—was adversely impacting the United States’ efforts to defeat the Taliban and weakening the legitimacy of the U.S. and Afghan governments.

The report by the Open Society Foundations, The Strategic Costs of Civilian Harm: Applying Lessons from Afghanistan to Current and Future Conflicts , examines how the U.S. military learned from its early mistakes in Afghanistan and applied lessons to mitigate civilian harm. In fact, starting in 2009, the U.S. military recognized its mistakes and started to understand the high strategic cost of civilian harm. The military’s changes led to a significant reduction in civilian deaths during the next few years.

The report argues that the United States should develop a Uniform Policy on Civilian Protection. The new standards would apply to all U.S. military operations in current and future conflicts and, hopefully, better protect civilians caught in conflict.

For full access to the report on The Strategic Costs of Civilian Harm: Applying Lessons from Afghanistan to Current and Future Conflicts, kindly follow the link.


State Strengthening in Afghanistan


Since 2001, Afghanistan’s political and social landscape has changed dramatically. However, international state-strengthening interventions have arguably had mixed results. Unprecedented aid and assistance has helped the country transition to a nascent democracy, attain a greater level of security, rebuild some of its infrastructure, and open more space for civil society participation. 

But, the diverse approaches taken by multiple actors with varying objectives have sometimes had negative consequences. Moreover, due to competing internal and external motivations and the current trends of declining aid and increasing conflict, the progress achieved may not be sustainable or have a long-term impact. This report by the United States Institute of Peace provides lessons learned in state strengthening from 2001–14, as well as recommendations for current and future interventions.

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Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces


In the past fourteen years, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have developed into a collection of professional institutions that are both committed to their mission and highly respected. However, they still face major challenges in key areas of capacity, such as logistics, air power, and intelligence. This report, published by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), assesses the ANDSF’s structure and capabilities and the conditions needed for their long-term financial and operational sustainability.

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A Transparent and Accountable Judiciary to Deliver Justice for All


Corruption is hampering the delivery of justice globally. People perceive the judiciary as the second most corrupt public service, after the police. UNDP presents in this report, prepared in cooperation with U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, a series of successful experiences from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo*, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, and Somalia, in promoting transparency and accountability within the judiciary.

Opening up judicial systems fosters integrity and increases public trust without impeding independence of the judiciary. The report advocates for judiciaries to open up to peer learning by engaging representatives of other countries in capacity assessments to improve judicial integrity. It also encourages judiciaries to consult end-users, associations of judges and use new technologies to foster transparency and accountability.

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Non-State Security Providers and Political Formation in Afghanistan

As part of the Centre for Security Governance Papers series, this paper examines how diverse non-state security providers – warlords, tribal leaders and local strongmen – affect the process of state formation and statebuilding in Afghanistan. Its analysis of the nature and scope of international engagement of informal security actors in northeast and southwest Afghanistan suggests that external donors have not primarily promoted liberal peace, but rather a hybrid political order.

The support of international actors has allowed non-state security actors to operate without the consent of communities, a situation in stark contrast, for instance, to Afghan tribal leadership in the past, whose authority and survival was predicated on the support of community constituencies. This practice of international state builders has thus impeded the development of a social contract and prevented non-state actors from winning the legitimacy that could potentially make their governance a viable alternative to the centralized state. Considering the adverse effects that international donor support for non-state security providers has had in Afghanistan, the paper argues that a hands-off, “do no harm” approach from international actors with regard to non-state security providers would increase stability more than its current form of engagement.

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Corruption as a threat to stability and peace

This study by Transparency International UK and Transparency International Germany stresses how corruption hinders stability in post-conflict states and undermines peace worldwide. It also shows a robust connection between corruption risk and violent conflict and looks at evidence of this link in detail through case studies of Afghanistan, Kosovo and West Africa. 
Based on Transparency International’s earlier work on corruption, conflict and peacekeeping, the report also examines the structures and practices of international organisations for addressing corruption in fragile and conflict-affected environments. 


Corruption: Lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan

This report assesses how the international mission in Afghanistan was put at risk due to complacency on corruption. The report examines how and why corruption was addressed too slowly during the mission and calls for anti-corruption work to be at the forefront of future intervention and security assistance policy, proposing a framework for policy makers to address corruption issues better in future. Published in February 2015, the report can be read online or downloaded.

A briefing for policy makers is also available for download. 


Did PRTs in Afghanistan Decrease Security for Aid Workers?

In an effort to curtail the insurgency in Afghanistan, the US military and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) blended military and humanitarian operations, much to the dismay of many within the nongovernmental organization (NGO) community. One of the major debates surrounding this effort concerns the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) initiative, which several NGOs have faulted for causing “blurred lines” between military and aid activity. PRTs were small units that combined diplomatic, military, and development components in an effort to improve stability in Afghanistan through the enhancement of economic viability, rule of law, and public services. Because of this mixed approach, NGOs such as CARE International, MSF, Save the Children, Oxfam, and others accused the US military and ISAF of increasing risks to aid workers in the field.

Read the article here. It is based on research originally published here: 

Mitchell, D.F., (2015). Blurred Lines? Provincial Reconstruction Teams and NGO Insecurity in Afghanistan, 2010–2011. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development . 4(1), p.Art. 9. DOI:


Policing the Context: Principles and Guidance to Inform International Policing Assistance

This document draws lessons on what it means to uphold and promote core policing principles in our overseas assistance, providing a crucial insight into both ‘what works’ and the many challenges that we must navigate to achieve success. It is based on the collective UK international policing experience over recent years including Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and most recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Libya.


The Political Economy of State-Building in Situations of Fragility and Conflict: From Analysis to Strategy

Fragile states have been at the heart of Western development and security strategy for over a decade. Bringing together the findings of five case studies of states that show clear signs of illegitimacy or a weak capacity to govern, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Kosovo and Pakistan, this paper examines the roots and dynamics of state fragility by placing the spotlight on the way political power works. The paper highlights the aspects of political economy that give rise to weak or fragile state institutions, freeze or reverse attempted reforms, create public insecurity and paralyse economic development.

The paper concludes with suggestions that may help guide a pragmatic and realistic approach. Above all, donors must be constantly sensitive to the structures of power, interests and incentives that can capture and subvert new formal governance arrangements.

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Lessons from MoDA Continuing the Conversation on How to Advise Institution-building

This article highlights the lessons learned of the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense Advisors (MoDA) program. The MoDA program was based on a thorough needs assessment and extensive consultations with US, coalition, and Afghan stakeholders as well as possible support and service providers. The goal of the program is to help transform the key security ministries into more efficient, effective, and professional institutions, capable of inheriting and executing the overall national security mission by 2014.


PRISM, Vol 3, No 3


Alliances and Conflict Resolution: NATO’s Role in Security Sector Reform

In the post-9/11 world, the United States (U.S.) has had to cope with “long wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is common between the cases of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts is that even after major combat operations ended, the military presence of multinational forces has not been scaled down as planned. In Afghanistan, the size of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been expanding. As post-conflict stabilization operations have not made smooth progress as anticipated, allies and coalition partners have to accelerate reform of the security sector including armed forces and police. With current realities of Afghanistan and Iraq flatly contradicting the prewar optimism  entertained by the Bush Administration, Western powers will have to stay engaged in postwar peacebuilding for some time.

In the post-9/11 world, the United States (U.S.) has had to cope with “long wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is common between the cases of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts is that even after major combat operations ended, the military presence of multinational forces has not been scaled down as planned. In Afghanistan, the size of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been expanding. As post-conflict stabilization operations have not made smooth progress as anticipated, allies and coalition partners have to accelerate reform of the security sector including armed forces and police. With current realities of Afghanistan and Iraq flatly contradicting the prewar optimism  entertained by the Bush Administration, Western powers will have to stay engaged in postwar peacebuilding for some time.

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Slip-Sliding on a Yellow Brick Road: Stabilization Efforts in Afghanistan

The ongoing transition process in Afghanistan will deliver three shocks in the coming few years: foreign forces will complete the handover of security responsibility to their Afghan counterparts, aid volumes and international spending in the country will decrease and, lastly, the political dispensation will be upended by presidential elections in which President Hamid Karzai is not supposed to run again. These challenges are mounting at a time when, due to inconsistent international approaches and a lack of appreciation for the Afghan context, Afghanistan is dealing with rising insecurity, dysfunctional governance, rampant corruption, and ethnic factionalization within the society and the domestic security forces. Based upon a review of the security sector, governance, social and economic conditions, regional relations and negotiation efforts with the insurgents, this article finds that fundamental questions about the efficacy of stabilization efforts in Afghanistan continue to lack clear answers. Regardless, significant room for improvement – both in policy and execution – appears to exist. It remains to be seen whether, as many Afghans fear, a civil war will engulf Afghanistan once again in the post-transition period or whether the international community will take those steps – re-energizing governance reform efforts, maintaining financial support and continuing to strengthen the Afghan army and police – which could help to bolster stability.


Paramilitarization and Security Sector Reform: The Afghan National Police

An accelerating trend to establish paramilitarized security forces has been occurring in peace operations to help fill security gaps. But the practice is problematic from a security sector reform(SSR) point of view, because SSR aims at distinguishing between the military and the police and at promoting civilian policing. This article shows that while the SSR concept leaves room for paramilitarization, it demands much caution. The paramilitarization of regular police forces is incompatible with even a flexible interpretation of SSR principles. The US-driven paramilitarization of the Afghan National Police (ANP), reflecting a search for quick fixes, is a dramatic case in point.

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Security Sector Development and the Rule of Law in Afghanistan

The fourth in the series of NATO-PA – DCAF public conferences highlighting and the discussing the principal challenges to the transatlantic security agenda focused on the dual prerogatives of security sector reform and establishing the rule of law in Afghanistan. Afghanistan remains of paramount importance for allies on both sides of the Atlantic, and for the international community as a whole. At NATO’s Bucharest summit at the beginning of April 2008, all major international actors reaffirmed their commitment to the Afghan people, yet much remains to be done to provide the conditions for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, not least to create local ownership of security problems.


National Security Strategies and Policies: A Note on Current Practices

A national security policy (NSP) is a government-wide analysis and description of the strategic level concerns a country faces; it addresses how the government plans to deals with these concerns. A national security strategy (NSS) is a government's overarching plan for ensuring the country's security in the form of guidance for implementing a country's national security policy. In several contexts, an initial national security strategy may play an important role in determining a comprehensive strategy for security sector reform. The NSS can be a tool for building legitimacy of security actors in the eyes of a population. This practice note discusses the challenges to reforming national security structures, as they relate to drafting appropriate national security strategies, and provides examples of ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

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The Security Sector and Poverty Reduction Strategies

Provision of security is both a core function of the state and a necessary condition for the delivery of other essential services and investments for poverty reduction. Improving the effectiveness and accountability of security provision is therefore becoming an increasingly important element of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) in countries emerging from conflict.

This note aims to clarify the challenges for integrating security sector priorities into PRSs by drawing on existing and emerging knowledge and practice in conflict-affected countries. Introduced in the late 1990s, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are standard tools for developing countries to articulate medium-term macroeconomic and social policies for growth and poverty reduction. Countries take the lead in setting a development plan, while the World Bank and other donors align their assistance programs with those national strategies.
This note focuses specifically on the World Bank’s role in supporting governments during the preparation of PRSs and discusses entry points for engagement in the security sector drawing from experience in a mix of conflictaffected countries. It is intended to serve as a resource for World Bank country teams and their national counterparts when designing PRS processes in countries where improved security has emerged as a national priority.

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Security Sector Financing and Fiscal Sustainability in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is emerging from decades of strife, and the new Government faces several challenges. Arguably the most daunting of these is to make Afghanistan secure, and establish the rule of law. Approximately $9 billion of foreign assistance has been spent on the security sector from 2003 to 2007, underscoring the important role the security sector plays in the wider reconstruction agenda. From 2007–10 a major scale-up to over $14 billion is planned, to be funded largely from external assistance. This resource expansion should be accompanied by heightened scrutiny of how foreign assistance is spent and whether it is delivering the desired outcomes of peace and a stronger, more accountable Afghan state. One important question to ask is whether the current financing model employed is the correct one, and how it affects the incentives around the reform process.

This paper takes an aid effectiveness approach to judge whether the financing model is appropriate for Afghanistan and it finds that the current financing model falls short of good aid effectiveness practice.


The Transition to a Just Order – Establishing Local Ownership after Conflict: A Practitioners’ Guide

This handbook and its sister publication, the policy report The Transition to a Just Order: Establishing Local Ownership after Conflict, A Practitioner’s Guide, are based on the findings of a two year long study conducted jointly by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). The study offers a comprehensive analysis of the principle of local ownership, the key dilemmas involved in pursuing local ownership and the challenges and issues that arise when local ownership is being put into practice.

It takes a closer look at strategies and mechanisms for transition in four cases studies: Afghanistan, the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo), Timor-Leste and West Africa (Liberia and Sierra Leone).
The cases have been selected to illustrate the varying degrees of international involvement in post-conflict justice and security sector reform. Kosovo and Timor-Leste represent scenarios where the international community has taken the lead in taking responsibility for law and order, while West Africa and especially Afghanistan are illustrative of postconflict environments where primacy has rested with local authorities. The study is based on field visits by the authors to all the case study countries with
the exception of Timor-Leste and numerous interviews with local stakeholders, practitioners, policy makers and established academics working on justice and security sector issues. The study has also benefited greatly from discussions which took place in a workshop held in Stockholm in May 2006 as well as a rigorous peer review process. The handbook uses the findings in the case studies and examples from these peacebuilding processes to highlight some of the key challenges.

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Improving Public Financial Management in the Afghan Security Sector

Security is not only a central issue for Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development, it has critical implications for the country’s management of its public finances. This paper by Peter Middlebrook, Nicole Ball, William Byrd and Christopher Ward, reviews Afghanistan’s security sector from the perspective of public finance management (PFM) and development. The Afghan security sector must be integrated into all aspects of the country’s PFM system and subject to all budgetary and fiduciary processes.

Security impacts the gamut of development issues faced by Afghanistan, ranging from state building and capacity development to revenue collection, security delivery and encouraging private sector-led growth. Both the Afghanistan government and external partners highlight security as a key enabling factor for the country’s growth and development. There is a critical need for reliable security to allow the Afghan people to conduct their daily lives in relative safety.

The Afghan security sector accounted for 40% of the country’s national budget as well as external assistance during the years under review, and raises major public finance management issues. In view of these issues, the Government of Afghanistan requested that the World Bank (WB) include the security sector in its PFM Review. This paper is one of five volumes comprising the WB Review titled “Afghanistan: Managing Public Finances for Development”.

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Afghanistan in Transition: The Security Context Post-Bin Laden

In 2011 NATO initiated the Inteqal process, i.e. the “transition” of security responsibilities from ISAF to the Afghan state and its security forces. The main pillars of this process are the build up of the Afghan Army and Police and the improvement of Afghanistan’s governance system at both national and local level. Progress has been made in this respect, although challenges remain. NATO aims to complete the transition by 2014, while reducing its military presence in the country, but a substantial Allied footprint is likely to remain in Afghanistan beyond that date. The death of Bin Laden has brought about little changes to the situation on the ground, while it may have a significant impact on the US’s attitude towards peace talks with the Taliban and thus influence the transition timeline and nature.


International Intervention and the Use of Force: Military and Police Roles

Intervening states apply different approaches to the use force in war-torn countries. Calibrating the use of force according to the situation on the ground requires a convergence of military and police roles: soldiers have to be able to scale down, and police officers to scale up their use of force. In practice, intervening states display widely differing abilities to demonstrate such versatility. This paper argues that these differences are shaped by how the domestic institutions of sending states mediate between demands for versatile force and their own intervention practices. It considers the use of force by Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States in three contexts of international intervention: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan. The paper highlights quite different responses to security problems as varied as insurgency, terrorism, organised crime and riots. This analysis offers important lessons. Those planning and implementing international interventions should take into account differences in the use of force. At the same time, moving towards versatile force profoundly changes the characteristics of security forces and may increase their short-term risks. This difficulty points to a key message emerging from this paper: effective, sustainable support to states emerging from conflict will only be feasible if intervening states reform their own security policies and practices.


Justice Under International Administration: Kosovo, East Timor and Afghanistan

This report will examine some questions relating to the delivery of justice in countries and territories under international administration through the experiences of United Nations administrations in Kosovo (1999— ) and East Timor (1999-2002) and the assistance mission in Afghanistan (2002— ). Though the United Nations had exercised varying measures of executive power in previous missions, notably West Papua (1962-1963), Cambodia (1992-1993), and Eastern Slavonia (1996-1998), Kosovo and East Timor were the first occasions on which the UN exercised full judicial power within a territory.

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Militarized versus Civilian Policing: Problems of Reforming the Afghan National Police

This report studies the transition from civilian to military-dominated police-building in Afghanistan. From 2002, Germany was the lead nation responsible for coordinating international assistance for police-building. The German police programme in Afghanistan was designed as a sustainable project with a civilian approach. However, Germany only invested relatively little funds in the building and reform of the ANP. This reflected the initially rather limited involvement of the international community as a whole in Afghanistan. The United States’ Afghanistan policy relied on cooperation with the warlords as well as on the military regime in Pakistan. This policy served to strengthen the armed opposition forces. Once it became clear that the building of the ANP was not progressing quickly enough, the USA de facto assumed the lead role in police-building in Afghanistan. This meant a change of paradigm from a civilian-based
police reform to a military-based police reform. Militarization was accelerated by the US dominated change of strategy in favour of counterinsurgency in 2009.

The report refers to the problems of the dominance of military elements in building the ANP. It is not clear whether the militarization of the ANP has significantly improved the chances of survival for members of the Afghan police. What is certain is that militarization cannot solve the problem of the weak legitimacy of the Afghan state. There is still a lack of trust between the public and the police, especially as the ANP is inadequately equipped to prevent or solve crimes. Moreover, the possible long-term consequences of militarization are problematic: It is easier to militarize the police now than it will be to drive out the spirit of militarization at a later date. The militarization of the ANP is therefore at the best ineffective and at the worst counterproductive. Only a police force which the people trust can be effective.


Justice for All A Comprehensive Needs Analysis for Justice in Afghanistan

This paper aims to provide
• a high-level analysis of what needs to be done over the next 12 years to build and maintain a minimally functional justice system in Afghanistan
• a preliminary forecast of what it would cost to fill its gaps
• an analysis of current gaps in programming and funding


Reforming Afghanistan's Broken Judiciary

Afghanistan’s justice system is in a catastrophic state of disrepair. Despite repeated pledges over the last nine years, the majority of Afghans still have little or no access to judicial institutions. Lack of justice has destabilised the country and judicial institutions have withered to near non-existence. Many courts are inoperable and those that
do function are understaffed. Insecurity, lack of proper training and low salaries have driven many judges and prosecutors from their jobs. Those who remain are highly
susceptible to corruption. Indeed, there is very little that is systematic about the legal system, and there is little evidence that the Afghan government has the resources or
political will to tackle the challenge. The public, consequently, has no confidence in the formal justice sector amid an atmosphere of impunity. A growing majority of Afghans have been forced to accept the rough justice of Taliban and criminal powerbrokers in areas of the country that lie beyond government control.

To reverse these trends, the Afghan government and international community must prioritise the rule of law as the primary pillar of a vigorous counter-insurgency strategy
that privileges the protection of rights equally alongside the protection of life. Restoration of judicial institutions must be at the front and centre of the strategy aimed at stabilising the country. The Afghan government must do more to ensure that judges, prosecutors and defence attorneys understand enough about the law to ensure its
fair application. Reinvigoration of the legal review process and the adoption of a more dynamic, coordinated approach to justice sector reform are critical to changing
the system. Justice is at the core of peace in Afghanistan and international engagement must hew to the fundamental goal of restoring the balance of powers in government and confronting governmental abuses, past and present. Urgent action is also needed to realign international assistance to strengthen support for legal education, case management, data collection and legal aid.


Customary Justice and Legal Pluralism in Post-Conflict and Fragile Societies

While there has been a growing interest in customary justice systems among rule of law practitioners, it has remained very much at the margins of justice reform strategies. This session will challenge us to view customary justice and other forms of legal pluralism not as a side issue, but as a fundamental part of the justice landscapes in which we work. It will take a critical stance in reviewing the current range of overall policy approaches to legal pluralism and the preconceptions and assumptions that underlie those approaches. It will seek to identify and critically review how different approaches (rights-based, developmental, expanding access to justice, peace-building, state-building etc.,) tend to “frame the problem” when it comes to engagement with legal pluralism and will reflect specifically on how these approaches affect a range of key post conflict objectives. Finally it will consider the building blocks needed to define strategic objectives for engagement with legal pluralism.


No Ownership, No Commitment: A Guide to Local Ownership of Security Sector Reform

The principle of local ownership of SSR will have little import if it is treated simply as a romantic and woolly concept. In practical terms it means that the reform of security
policies, institutions and activities in a given country must be designed, managed and implemented by local actors rather than external actors.
The principle is misconstrued if it is understood to mean that there must be a high level of domestic support for donor activities. What is required is not local support for donor programmes and projects but rather donor support for programmes and projects initiated by local actors. The question for donor governments is not “how can we undertake SSR in partner countries?” but “how can we support local actors who want to undertake SSR in partner countries?”.
The principle does not preclude donors seeking to stimulate and encourage local interest in SSR. Nor does it preclude international actors putting pressure on governments whose security forces violate human rights. Nevertheless, the actual reform of the security sector must be shaped and driven by local actors.

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Local Ownership and Security Sector Reform

Over the past two decades, in response to the underwhelming results of international development efforts across the Third World, arguments concerning the importance of local ownership have been gaining currency within the international development community. At its core, the discourse around ownership revolves around fundamental questions of agency: who decides, who controls, who implements, and who evaluates. The growing emphasis on local ownership, then, emerged as a critique of mainstream development practice and the broader cult of Western expertise which underpins it. As Joseph Stiglitz argued a decade ago, a vision of development in which all the answers and all the agency are seen to lie in the hands of foreigners is inherently problematic and ultimately self-defeating: ‘We have seen again and again that [local] ownership is essential for successful transformation: policies that are imposed from outside may be grudgingly accepted on a superficial basis, but will rarely be implemented as intended’. Since then, the principle of local ownership has been viewed increasingly as a precondition for effective development assistance, even if
the translation of the principle into actual practice remains an ongoing challenge.



Internal Security and Statebuilding Aligning Agencies and Functions

This book examines international efforts to provide security in post-conflict sites and explains why internal security should be given precedence in statebuilding endeavours.

The work begins by exploring the evolution of security sectors in mature liberal democratic states, before examining the attempts of such states to accelerate that evolutionary process in post-conflict sites through statebuilding and security sector reform. These discussions suggest interestingly different answers to the question of who should provide for internal security in international operations. When considering mature states, there are both practical and normative reasons as to why internal security has become the sole domain of police, with military forces being excluded from internal affairs. In peace and stability operations, on the other hand, difficulties with utilising police personnel have led to military forces being required to play internal security roles. This tension is investigated further through detailed case studies of three recent missions: Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands. These case studies both reinforce and augment the practical and normative reasons for ensuring that internal security remains the domain of police. This then impacts upon peace and stability operations in two important ways. If we are to provide enduring security in post-conflict sites, we should both (i) prioritise internal security agencies in security sector reform efforts, and (ii) prioritise ways of enabling police to play internal security roles in the contributing mission.


Back to the Roots

There has now been more than a decade of conceptual work, policy development, and operational activity in the field of security sector reform (SSR). To what extent has its original aim, to support and facilitate development, been met? The various contributions to this book address this question, offering a range of insights on the theoretical and practical relevance of the security-development nexus in SSR. They examine claims of how and whether SSR effectively contributes to achieving both security and development objectives. In particular, the analyses presented in the book provide a salutary lesson that development and security communities need to take each other's concerns into account when planning, implementing, and evaluating their activities. The book offers academics, policy-makers, and practitioners within the development and security communities relevant lessons, suggestions, and practical advice for approaching SSR as an instrument that serves both security and development


Governance in Post-Conflict Societies: Rebuilding Fragile States

This book explores the problem of states that fail, leading to conflict and war, and how to rebuild them. Focusing on governance as critical to post-conflict reconstruction, the contributors illustrate the connections among the core functions that governance fulfills in any society: assuring security, achieving effective provision of public goods and services, and generating legitimacy. This volume brings together chapters by scholars and practitioners studying and working on governance issues from a variety of perspectives. Divided into three sections, this volume opens by taking a fresh look at the historical record on nation-building, constitutional design in deeply divided societies, the dynamics of elections, and governance of the security sector. It then explores the range of actors involved in governance reconstruction and highlights the evolving role of the US military, the influence of multinational firms, the importance of the civil service, and the potential impact of Internet-based diasporas. Finally, it looks at local governance, highlighting the subnational state-society structures and relations in fragile and post-conflict states, and draws on case studies from Latin America, Africa, and Afghanistan." "This book will be of much interest to students of international public administration, global governance, post-conflict reconstruction, foreign policy and international relations in general, as well as to practitioners in the field.


Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies

The major peacekeeping and stability operations of the last ten years have mostly taken place in countries that have pervasive customary justice systems, which pose significant challenges and opportunities for efforts to reestablish the rule of law. These systems are the primary, if not sole, means of dispute resolution for the majority of the population, but post-conflict practitioners and policymakers often focus primarily on constructing formal justice institutions in the Western image, as opposed to engaging existing traditional mechanisms. This book offers insight into how the rule of law community might make the leap beyond rhetorical recognition of customary justice toward a practical approach that incorporates the realities of its role in justice strategies."Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies" presents seven in-depth case studies that take a broad interdisciplinary approach to the study of the justice system. Moving beyond the narrow lens of legal analysis, the cases Mozambique, Guatemala, East Timor, Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq, Sudan examine the larger historical, political, and social factors that shape the character and role of customary justice systems and their place in the overall justice sector. Written by resident experts, the case studies provide advice to rule of law practitioners on how to engage with customary law and suggest concrete ways policymakers can bridge the divide between formal and customary systems in both the short and long terms. Instead of focusing exclusively on ideal legal forms of regulation and integration, this study suggests a holistic and flexible palette of reform options that offers realistic improvements in light of social realities and capacity limitations. The volume highlights how customary justice systems contribute to, or detract from, stability in the immediate post-conflict period and offers an analytical framework for assessing customary justice systems that can be applied in any country.


Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration and Security Sector Reform

This volume sets out to break down these stove-pipes and identify positive associations between DDR and SSR. Drawing on case studies from selected post-conflict settings, it demonstrates the potential and reality of improved collaboration between both endeavours. Enhanced cooperation could avoid negative outcomes. These may include former- combatants dropping out of programmes, trust undermined in security institutions and the creation of security vacuums that jeopardise the safety of individuals and communities. A central claim of this volume is that programmes must be responsive to the needs and interests of different national actors. Without understanding the dynamic political processes that shape the origins, parameters and outcomes of both processes, DDR and SSR may address security deficits, but will be unfit to support sustainable transitions towards national recovery and development.


Improving Capacity for Stabilization and Reconstruction

Until recently, governments and militaries have preferred to focus attention and resources on conventional military operations rather than stabilization and reconstruction missions. Thus, skills and capacities for the latter set of missions have remained underdeveloped or have been allowed to atrophy. U.S. experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated, however, that improving U.S. capacity for stabilization and reconstruction operations is critical to national security. To help craft a way ahead, the authors provide an overview of the requirements posed by stabilization and reconstruction operations and recommend ways to improve U.S. capacity to meet these needs. Among other findings, the authors suggest that the United States

  • emphasize building civilian rather than military capacity
  • realign and reform existing agencies rather than creating new organizations
  • fund and implement the Civilian Stabilization Initiative
  • improve deployable police capacity
  • develop stronger crisis-management processes
  • ensure coherent guidance and funding.

Parliaments as Peacebuilders in Conflict-Affected Countries

The changing nature of conflict and the increase in intrastate conflict during the 1990s, followed by its slow decline since the turn of the century, have led to changing priorities in the field of conflict resolution. No longer is the international community solely concerned with resolving existing conflicts; it also is managing emerging conflicts to ensure that they do not flare into violent conflict.This book outlines some of the strategies parliaments and parliamentarians can adopt to reduce the incidence of conflict and effectively manage conflict when it does emerge. It is hoped that by developing a better understanding of the nexus between parliament, poverty, and conflict parliamentarians will be more aware of the array of options open to them as they seek to contribute to conflict management in conflict-affected societies.


Justice As Prevention

Countries emerging from armed conflict or authoritarian rule face difficult questions about what to do with public employees who perpetrated past human rights abuses and the institutional structures that allowed such abuses to happen. Justice as Prevention: Vetting Public Employees in Transitional Societiesexamines the transitional reform known as "vetting" -- the process by which abusive or corrupt employees are excluded from public office. More than a means of punishing individuals, vetting represents an important transitional justice measure aimed at reforming institutions and preventing the recurrence of abuses. The book is the culmination of a multiyear project headed by the International Center for Transitional Justice that included human rights lawyers, experts on police and judicial reform, and scholars of transitional justice and reconciliation. It features case studies of Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, the former German Democratic Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and South Africa, as well as chapters on due process, information management, and intersections between other institutional reforms.


Monopoly of Force

"Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) have emerged in recent years as promising though generally poorly understood mechanisms for consolidating stability and reasserting state sovereignty after conflict. Despite the considerable experience acquired by the international community, the critical interrelationship between DDR and SSR and the ability to use these mechanisms with consistent success remain less than optimally developed. The chapters in this book reflect a diversity of field experience and research in DDR and SSR, which suggest that these are complex and interrelated systems, with underlying political attributes. Successful application of DDR and SSR requires the setting aside of preconceived assumptions or formulas, and should be viewed flexibly to restore to the state the monopoly of force."--P. [4] of cover.


Warlords, Militias and Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan

Post-conflict environments often face the challenge of how to deal with non-state armed actors (NSAAs). The role of NSAAs is nonetheless an understudied subject, and is as a consequence not properly understood. By far the most common perception is that they are spoilers of state building processes. This book contradicts this notion in asking whether non-state armed actors might in fact play a significant and constructive role in the inevitable and persistent insecurity of the post-conflict state. By analyzing and drawing on lessons learned from three differing strategies implemented in Afghanistan, each affiliated with a particular strand of international relations theory, this book aims to explore the potential of non-state armed actors in the provision of security. By utilizing the potential in NSAAs as agents of peace and stability, the security system created may become more efficient and tailored to the local context, while also allowing the government to map and address local grievances.


Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration and Security Sector Reform

DCAF was jointly mandated by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to analyse the policy and programming implications of the relationship between the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR). Based on lessons drawn from experiences in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, this publication is based on a combination of desk and field research focusing on UN engagement in DDR and SSR in both peacekeeping and non-peacekeeping contexts.



Reform And Reconstruction of the Security Sector

Security sector reform (SSR) is widely recognized as key to conflict prevention, peace-building, sustainable development, and democratization. SSR has gained most practical relevance in the context of post-conflict reconstruction of so-called "failed states'" and states emerging from violent internal or inter-state conflict. As this volume shows, almost all states need to reform their security sectors to a greater or lesser extent, according to the specific security, political and socio-economic contexts, as well as in response to the new security challenges resulting from globalization and post-9/11 developments. Alan Bryden is a researcher at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. Heiner Hnggi is assistant director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.


Local Ownership and Security Sector Reform

Over the past two decades, in response to the underwhelming results of international development efforts across the Third World, arguments concerning the importance of local ownership have been gaining currency within the international development community. This book dwells on the concept of local ownership and the challenges it faces in SSR practice in terms of implementation and donor-national stakeholder relations. Finally it  adds a number of case studies that exemplify these issues.  


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International Crisis Group - Watch List 2017

Crisis Group’s Watch List 2017 includes the Lake Chad basin, Libya, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sahel, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

For full access to the report, Watch List 2017, kindly follow the link. 

For an update on the report, Watch List 2017 – First Update with entries on counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia and the Western Balkans, kindly follow the link. 

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How Can Fragile and Conflict-Affected States Improve Their Legitimacy With Their People?

Fragility, conflict, and violence affect development outcomes for more than two billion people. This poses a particular challenge to development organizations, governments, and NGOs alike.

On December 5, 2016, the World Bank and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy convened a day-long conference to discuss some of these challenges, share the latest research, and exchange knowledge and experience from the field.

To access the entire conference report How Can Fragile and Conflict-Affected States Improve Their Legitimacy With Their People?, kindly click on the link.

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Afghanistan's transition: challenges and opportunities for peace

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