United Nations Peacekeeping Missions
Evidently, the United Nations offers a unique service that entails peacekeeping. This serves as an effective and major tool that enables host states to overcome the challenging period of moving from the time of war to establishing peace and stability (Allee 13). Usually, peacekeeping is a task that requires great strengths in sharing burden as well as the ability to sustain and distribute the armed forces. It also entails merging operations with the activities of different humanitarian organizations in order to realize objectives.
While considering these developments, the peacekeepers under the United Nations provide political security while building peace. This assists the countries that are transiting from hostility situations to peaceful situations. The peacekeeping objective of the United Nations comprises of three main principles.
First, the conflicting sides within the state that is being helped have to approve the United Nations’ operations. Secondly, the parties should be neutral in their operations. Thirdly, the United Nations does not allow the use of excessive force in the activities of restoring peace except for self-defense as well as defending the objectives (Allee 14). Currently, the United Nation has deployed its peace operations within four continents successfully. Thus, it has 16 peace operations missions (Allee 14). The aim of this case study is to explore the peace operations of the UN in Afghanistan keenly by analyzing operations prior, during and past the peacekeeping mission of the UN.
The Afghanistan war history can be traced back to 1973. This was when political environment of this country became unstable following the overthrow of King Zahir Shah by Mohammed Daoud Khan who was his cousin. Since 1953, Daoud Khan served as the Afghanistan’s prime minister. He was fighting for women liberation, Pashtun nationalism and economic rejuvenation (Stewart 18). The prime minister of Pakistan incited the Islamic leader in Afghan to resist the rule of the government of Daoud Khan. The communist party in Afghan called the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) led the 1978’s coup.
Daoud Khan was killed during this coup (Sunil 14). Afghan’s society transformation that included the elimination of arranged marriages as well as the fight for mass literacy and land holding problems resolution resulted from the activities of PDPA. These activities also led to the establishment of a democratic state in Afghan (Grau 14). In 1979, the Soviet Union entered Afghan following the crackdown of PDPA. This catalyzed the rivalry of the Cold War era. Other states such as Saudi Arabia, the United States, China and Pakistan were also attracted into Afghanistan and they supported the rebels who were resisting the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan that was backed by the Soviet Union.
This war attracted volunteers including Osama Bin Laden who were called the Afghan Arabs because of their Arab origin. Later, Soviet military left Afghanistan in 1989. Additionally, the US’ interest in this war was reduced by the realization that Osama Bin Laden was no longer involved in the Afghan war (Clements 11).
President Rabbani governed the Afghanistan’s Islamic state in 1992. His government was at war with warlords who wanted to control Kabul. A Pashtun Mujahedeen called Mullah Omar arrived in Kandahar where he started the Taliban in 1994. This group comprised of different religious leaders called the Talib. Their aim was to stop warlords by ensuring strict adherence to Islamic law. By November 1994, they were successful in capturing Kandahar province (UN Security Council 3). Nevertheless, they were also defeated in some cases and this lead to substantial losses. Taliban was greatly supported by Pakistan. Military support was extended on 27th September 1996 (Clements 14). The government of Saudi Arabia provided a financial boost to the Taliban and this enhanced the Kabul seizure. This led to the establishment of an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Women were prevented from attending school or going to work. They were also not allowed to leave their homes without male companions. Between 1994 and 1999, about 100,000 Pakistanis were trained and they went into war with Afghanistan. They supported Taliban authorities (Malone and Ramesh 17).
Several citizens were killed by the Taliban that was seeking control of the Western and Northern regions in Afghanistan. The officials of the United Nations reported that from 1996 to 2001, approximately 15 genocides were committed. The Shiite Hazaras was the main group that was targeted. Additionally, the group led by Osama Bin Laden called the “055 Brigade” engaged in several mass killing cases in Afghanistan. The authority of Taliban grew to 90 percent in the country as of 2001 (Malone and Ramesh 17).
As such, Afghanistan was governed by the authorities of the Taliban. This provided a safe ground for Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden as well as other terrorist groups. Following the attack of the United States on 11th September 2001, there were reactions by the global community to threats that came from Afghanistan terrorists and other parts of the globe. This made taking tough and drastic measures necessary that included peace restoration in Afghanistan (Malone and Ramesh 18). The US led the onslaught of the Taliban authorities following the resolutions of different countries and the United Nations Security Council. The UN and NATO forces led this onslaught of the Taliban authorities. While responding to this, the Afghan and the US forces began their bombing offensive in October 2001 during which they removed the Taliban from power (Green and Chad 64).
In December 2001, a conference was held, the Bohn conference. This provided a platform for the leaders in Afghan to rebuild a government for this country. This was called the Afghan Transitional Authority (Green and Chad 66). A decision was made during this conference to send the United Nation forces to help in the establishment of the transition authority. The forces arrived to ensure the restoration of peace in this country. Additionally, the government of Afghan’s request was honored in March 2002 when the establishment of a United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan or UNAMA was supported by the Security Council (Green and Chad 68). The International Security Assistance (ISAFA) formation was also facilitated by Bohn conference.
The mandate of ISAF was to organize and to coordinate the ground forces. NATO took control of these troops in 2013 ending the six months control rotation (Arnold 78). Although the obligation of the UN was to cover the Kabul region only, its providence and protection expanded to the entire nation. Additionally, the main aim of the mission was to enhance the process of reconciliation, fight corruption, conduct and observe activities that would ensure human rights’ protection more so the rights of children and women. In addition, it was also the obligation of the mission to help the government of Afghanistan in restoring order and peace. The mission aimed at providing development and humanitarian assistance apart from offering advice to the government in terms of security, geographical cooperation and leadership issues (Arnold 78).
The peacekeeping operations’ sector of the UN administered UNAMA. It also coordinated the operations of about 23 agencies within Afghanistan (Arnold 79). Additionally, the mission had the mandate of providing strategic and political advice regarding the peace process, help the government in its efforts to implement the 2006 compact, boost the global activity level of the country and participate in protecting human rights (Arnold 79). On 22nd March 2012, the resolution 2041 was approved by the UN Security Council. This renewed the obligations of the UNAMAS until March 2013 (Arnold 79). This renewal as well as the UNAMA operation’s continuation is an indication that the peacekeeping mission of the UN in Afghanistan succeeded because it led to the overpowering of Taliban authorities leading to the establishment of a government that was democratically elected (Sunil 21).
Additionally, the secretary general of the UN presents a report to the UN Security Council twice per year that indicates the current Afghanistan’s status. There are other similar reports prepared by the Security Council, the special representatives of Afghanistan and the UN agencies. These are also in support of the conclusion that the peacekeeping mission of the UN was successful in Afghanistan (Sunil 21).
The peacekeeping operation of the UN started in Syria since 2011 following the revolt of the rebels against the government of President Assad. It has been observed that Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon involvements as the secretary generals of the UN were not fruitful in enhancing peaceful transition in Syria. A peacekeeping resolution was adopted by the UN Security Council in the April of 2012 as a way of ending rampant violence within Syria. The peacekeeping efforts of the UN were unsuccessful as they did in Afghanistan (Ogunnusi 125).
It is of great essence that modern peacekeeping campaigns avoid using force except for self defense purposes only. In addition, these operations should extend beyond attaining security and peace to enhancing political processes, assisting in demilitarization, attackers’ reintegration and citizens’ protection. Lastly, the UN mission upheld human rights while ensuring citizens’ protection as well as providing organizational support. From this discussion, it is apparent that the UN Security Council played a significant role in restoring peace in Afghanistan. It established peacekeeping operations via the resolution of the Security Council following the request of the Afghanistan government.
The council observed responsible actions that include supervisory activities. Evidently, the operations of UNAMA are continuing in Afghanistan up to now under the supervision of the council. The Afghan leaders’ cooperation with the military of the United States also enhanced Taliban authorities’ elimination. Moreover, the establishment of UNAMA was followed by the creation of the new constitution and elections. In Syria, the council also had supervisory responsibilities. Evidently, the UN ended its activities in Syria after the involved parties persisted in their use of armed violence as well as the use of chemical weapons.
Allee, Susan. UN Blue: An Examination of the Interdependence between UN Peacekeeping and Peacemaking, International Journal of Peace Studies, 2009, 14 (1): 11-98. Print.
Arnold, Anthony. Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Perspective. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1981, 4(1):74-86
Clements, Frank. Conflict in Afghanistan: a historical encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, Inc, 2003. Print.
Grau, Lester. The Soviet-Afghan War: Breaking the Hammer and Sickle, VFW Magazine, 2(3): 12-45
Green, David, and Chad Diehl. The Price of Peace: A Predictive Model of UN Peacekeeping Fiscal Costs, Policy Studies Journal, 2008, 26(4): 34-123.
Malone, David, and Ramesh Thakur. UN Peacekeeping: Lessons Learned? Journal on Global Governance, 2001, 7(1): 12-56.
Ogunnusi, Michael. Understanding Peacekeeping, British Journal of Community Justice, 2010, 8(3): 121-230.
Stewart, Richard. Operation Enduring Freedom, British Journal of Community Justice, 2004, 3(5): 11-34
Sunil, Ram. American Military University, The History of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations During the Cold War, Routledge, 2006. Print.
UN Security Council, Media Stake-Out, Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet on Syria, New York, 2012. Web.