Civil-military relations and R2P: The Afghan experience

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Since the communist coup of April 1978, Afghanistan has had more than its experience of mass atrocity crime, and as a result, one might have expected the post-2001 international intervention in Afghanistan to have paid a considerable amount of attention to protecting the Afghan population against recurrences of this phenomenon. The picture, however, has been much more complex, even where civil-military cooperation has been brought to the center of operational planning, notably with the deployment of mixed civil and military Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). This chapter examines the Afghanistan experience in order to identify ways in which the politics of international operations can militate against the threat of mass atrocity crime receiving the attention it deserves. Key factors that emerge from the case include a strong US commitment to using kinetic means to address the threat posed by perceived enemies, an unwillingness to confront diplomatically the challenge posed by sanctuaries in neighboring countries for forces willing to attack civilians as part of this strategy, the value to opponents of the new Afghan state of random attacks on civilians as a means for symbolizing the state’s weakness, and the preoccupation of PRT actors with a diverse range of challenges, distracting attention from mass atrocity crime as a routine danger.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationImplementing the Responsibility to Protect: A Future Agenda
    Editors Cecilia Jacob and Martin Mennecke
    Place of PublicationAbingdon
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)9780367265533
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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