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Afghanistan: Training the trainers

17-07-2003 News Release 03/81

The ICRC last week launched a programme to train officers of the future Afghan National Army in the law of armed conflict.

Fifty-eight officers, about half of the force's senior commanders, attended the first ICRC seminar, held in the capital Kabul. The event consisted of an introduction to the organization's programme to teach the law of war, informing the participants about how this body of law developed and dealing with subjects such as command responsibility and the International Criminal Court, whose statute was recently ratified by Afghanistan. The seminar will be followed by workshops designed for more junior army instructors.

The response from last week's participants was overwhelmingly positive. Mike O'Brien, an ICRC delegate who conducted the seminar, pointed out that the ICRC's aim was to inform senior officers about the programme itself, and to proceed as quickly as possible with the training of a number of officers in such a way that they can train personnel in their turn at Afghan army bases and field units. " All the officers present had operational backgrounds, " says O'Brien. " That certainly helps when it comes to grasping the key issues. "

Under the Geneva Conventions, it is the responsibility of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan to ensure that the rules and principles of the law of war are known and implemented by all members of the Afghan armed forces. The ICRC is assisting the country's authorities by organizing teaching and providing documentation.

 Further information: Simon Schorno, ICRC Kabul, tel. +93 070 276 465