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Unformatted text preview: Righting the course? Humanitarian intervention, the war on terror and the future of Afghanistan International Affairs 84 : 4 (2008) 641657 2008 The Author(s). Journal Compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/The Royal Institute of International Affairs FATIMA AYUB AND SARI KOUVO * Consideration of Afghanistan within the framework of international humanitarian interventions generates an uneasy analysis. The US-led invasion in Afghanistan was not constructed as a humanitarian intervention, but conceived as an act of self- defence in response to the attacks on New York and Washington DC in September 2001. The war in Afghanistan was initiated with no clear strategies for long-term stabilization, state-building or development. In the context of previous policy declarations from the Bush administration, Afghanistan was a target and concern within the context of counterterrorism, not humanitarianism. Though felling the Taleban seemed a quick enough task at the time, ferreting out Al-Qaedas leader- ship and foot soldiers from the forbidding AfghanPakistani border and initiating a development process did not. Consequently the initial American plan for a quick operation to excise the cancer of terrorism was quickly blurred by a mismatch between shorter-term security and counterterrorist concerns and complex questions of long-term stabilization and state-building. The discourse of humanitarian intervention has largely focused on reconciling the inviolability of state sovereignty with the responsibility to protect during or after conflicts or crises. The practice of humanitarian intervention, including military humanitarian intervention, has been steadily widening in scope and complexity since the end of the Cold War. The war on terror created yet more confusion around the legal constraints on and political justifications for humani- tarian interventions, and the growing number of interventions has prompted broader discussion on post-conflict stabilization and state-building. It can be argued that the success of an intervention should be measured not merely by the absence of violence, but on the basis of the subsequent durability of the govern- ment and the well-being of the population. However, whatever the measure, the * The authors wish to thank Thomas Ruttig and Caroline Soper for valuable comments on early drafts of this article. Discussions at the conference on Humanitarian intervention: past, present and future at Chatham House on 5 June 2008 were important in finalizing the article into. The authors are consultants with the Afghanistan Program of the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), and opportunities provided by the ICTJ have been invaluable in drafting the article. A fellowship at the NATO Defense College has been essential for providing Sari Kouvo with the time and space for reading and writing about the state-building process in Afghanistan. Many more people and institutional structures have provided critical insight and inspi-process in Afghanistan....
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This note was uploaded on 09/25/2011 for the course ENG 1 taught by Professor Lynch during the Spring '09 term at Santa Monica.
- Spring '09
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