Conflict in Afghanistan II
IRRC No. 881
The year 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of the launching of 'Operation Enduring Freedom'. For Americans, this is one of the longest wars in the history of their country, but when the American forces started to bomb Afghanistan the population of that country had already been suffering the ravages of civil wars, foreign intervention, and oppressive regimes for over twenty years. The Afghan conflict poses several challenges: that of building up stability in a territory ravaged by three decades of conflicts; that of the adequacy of the law to deal with the current crisis; and that of humanitarian action conducted by actors with varying goals and methods who are all operating in the same context.
Table of contents
Interview with Fatima Gailani, President of the Afghan Red Crescent Society
Has the armed conflict in Afghanistan affected the rules on the conduct of hostilities?
The objective of this article is to assess whether the armed conflict in Afghanistan has affected the application and interpretation of the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution – principles that form the core of legal rules pertaining to the conduct of hostilities.
International law and armed non-state actors in Afghanistan
An effective legal regime governing the actions of armed non-state actors in Afghanistan should encompass not only international humanitarian law but also international human rights law. Although the applicability of international human rights law to armed non-state actors remains highly controversial its applicability to such actors exercising control over a population is slowly becoming more accepted.
The Layha for the Mujahideen: an analysis of the code of conduct for the Taliban fighters under Islamic law
The following article focuses on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Rules for the Mujahideen to determine their conformity with the Islamic jus in bello. The author argues that many of the Taliban rules have only a limited basis in, or are wrongly attributed to, Islamic law.
Combatants, not bandits: the status of rebels in Islamic law
The Islamic law on rebellion offers a comprehensive code for regulating the conduct of hostilities in non-international armed conflicts and thus it can be used as a model for improving the contemporary international legal regime.
Between a rock and a hard place: integration or independence of humanitarian action?
This article looks at the tension between principles and politics in the response to the Afghan crisis, and more specifically at the extent to which humanitarian agencies have been able to protect themselves and their activities from overt instrumentalization by those pursuing partisan political agendas.
30 years in Afghanistan. ICRC photo archives account by Alberto Cairo
The Review asked Alberto Cairo, head of the ICRC orthopaedic programme in Afghanistan since 1992, to make his own selection of pictures from the ICRC’s photo library collection, which covers its activities in conflicts throughout the world from the 1860s to the present day.
The International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan: reasserting the neutrality of humanitarian action
Neutrality as a guiding principle of humanitarian action was roundly rejected by most actors in Afghanistan’s latest conflict. One party to the conflict commandeered assistance and aid organizations into a counter-insurgency campaign, and the other rejected Western aid organizations as agents of an imperialist West. The murder in 2003 of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) water engineer Ricardo Munguia, because of what he symbolized, cast doubt on whether the ICRC could be perceived as neutral in this highly polarized context. Rather than abandon a neutral stance, however, as so many aid organizations did, the ICRC persevered and, through some innovative and sometimes risky initiatives, managed to show both sides the benefits of having a neutral intermediary in conflict. Today, the ICRC continues to expand its reach to Afghans in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
The protective scope of Common Article 3: more than meets the eye
The article sets out a possible typology and argues that Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions may be given an expanded geographical reading as a matter of treaty law. It also suggests that there is a far wider range of rules – primarily of a binding nature, but also policy-based – that apply in Common Article 3 armed conflicts with regard to the treatment of persons in enemy hands and the conduct of hostilities.
National implementation of international humanitarian law (Spring 2011)
Biannual update, July to December 2010
Books and articles (Spring 2011)
Recent acquisitions of the Library & Research Service, ICRC