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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Maintaining Law and order in Afghanistan: Another challenge for Taliban?

Afghanistan’s justice system is in a catastrophic state of disrepair. The majority of Afghans still have little or no access to judicial institutions. Judicial institutions have withered to near non-existence and the lack of justice has destabilized the country. 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.

The Afghans have suffered never-ending wars and unlawful foreign intervention leading to perpetual instability in the region. At present, numerous widespread illegal activities and all forms of corruption such as money laundering, black marketeering, kidnapping, human/drug trafficking, violation of International Humanitarian laws are taking place daily. In addition, attacks on healthcare providers/media and human rights defenders, contract killings or assassinations, bombings and mass killings of innocent civilians, violence, sexual abuse, and harassment against women and children. We can clearly see one of the biggest challenge for the Taliban is maintaining the law and order in Afghanistan.

Then there is torture and many other forms of minor crimes such as theft and assault. There are two primary reasons for this appalling lawlessness and disorderliness found amongst the Afghanis. The first one is the weak and poor law enforcement, and the second reason is the most nauseatingly corrupt leadership. Martin Luther King has rightly pointed out that:
“Law and order exist to establish justice and that when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

Read more: An important message from Afghanistan!

Crises that are surrounding Afghanistan

According to the Trafficking in-person report 2021, Afghanistan is on tier 3 for human trafficking. Women and children are kidnapped and subjected to bonded labor, prostitution, sex slavery (trend of boy play or bacha Bazi: Men use Boys for their sexual entertainment), and recruitment into extremist groups. Of course, in Afghanistan, human trafficking is illegal, immoral, and unIslamic; however, it is practiced at all levels with impunity, including by government officials and professional kidnappers; they are all implicated and involved in this heinous crime.

Afghanistan had joined UNODC’s initiative to combat these issues since 2019; however, not a single step to curb this menace. The UN. Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan has stated that Afghanistan is a haven for drug lords and drug cartels who control the global opium market. The illicit trade network in Afghanistan is estimated in hundreds of millions in US Dollars annually. All of these factors are not just violating domestic laws but International obligations such as The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, etc. There are also severe repercussions and implications for Pakistan as it happens to be a neighboring country of Afghanistan, mainly in terms of regional security, destabilization, and terrorism.

First, all bombing in Afghanistan must stop immediately. Not only is it unlawful, but it is also incredibly damaging to the sense of peace and prosperity of the Afghans. Non-state actors are not reluctant to use weapons of mass destruction on civilians. Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions assures international minimum protection to persons taking no active part in hostilities. Therefore severe and absolute human rights abuse in Afghanistan is alarming.

Read more: What is the future of bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Iran?

Extra-judicial killings, discrimination, ill-treatment of the citizens from government officials and the Taliban equally are an insurmountable threat to protected rights of human beings in international laws and afghan citizens in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The unfair and inefficient conduct of the affairs in Afghanistan is responsible for cross-border infiltration resulting in terrorism in Pakistan. Around 2.8 million registered and undocumented Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan, making it the second-largest refugee population around the globe after the Syrian refugees in Turkey.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 3.8 million refugees have been repatriated to Afghanistan since 2002. Still, many returned to Pakistan due to ongoing lawlessness, violence, human rights abuses, bomb attacks, unemployment, and a lack of education/medical facilities in Afghanistan. Consequently, the influx of Afghan refugees since the 1980s has contributed to major organized crime, sectarian violence, and terrorism in Pakistan. Economic caveats are there and problematic for Pakistan’s resource management.

The process of progress will take a long time 

There are, of course, no quick fixes here for the unbridled situation in Afghanistan. State of lawlessness in Afghanistan is a recipe for proper destruction not just for Afghanistan itself but its neighboring countries and International communities at large are stakeholders also. The status quo in Afghanistan can not remain and must be challenged. Is it going to be difficult? Yes. Is it impossible? The answer is no!

Read more: Why there’s an urgent need for democracy in Afghanistan?

The peace process in Afghanistan is, indeed, incidental to law and order. By connecting the dots, we can draw a rough picture of poor leadership in Afghanistan that also has profound implications for Pakistan. De facto Taliban rule and their tailored interpretation of sharia laws, along with their illicit practices, is in conflict with Afghanistan’s official constitution and Islam. It is an admitted fact that those with powers are the most dangerous ones, and so are the Taliban. That POWER CORRUPTS and ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY is well known and widely accepted. Therefore, to tame the radically extreme Taliban, what is required is equally powerful political will from the Afghan people.

Whether the Taliban can honor the deals and agreements signed through negotiations and dialogue remains to be seen. There is not any perfect solution. Forward momentum and pragmatic, practical approaches are required for Afghans to have any chance of sustainable peace and plain silly and socio-economic progress. Strengthening the fragile rule of law in Afghanistan is another logical step. On the other hand, ill-advised, plainly absurd restrictions, prohibitions, and various nonsensical bans must be abolished entirely. The international community can jump in to fight the insurgency. To restore progress, enforcement of laws can play a significant role; for what good are laws if they are not implemented fairly across the board?


Kainat Saif is a law student and is actively engaged in community welfare projects. Her key areas of interest are diplomacy, policymaking, legal drafting, and social justice. She can be reached at kainatsaif02@gmail.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.