UN Peacekeeping Mission
Peacekeeping is among the most effective and major tools that the United Nations uses to provide a reliable and unique service to host countries enabling them to go through the challenging transition periods from war time to the time when they realize peace (Allee 13). As a service, peace keeping requires strengths and this implies burden sharing as well as the capacity that is required in distributing and sustaining armed forces. The United Nations also involves in merging its operations with the operations of humanitarian organizations in order to realize the set objectives. As such, the UN peacekeepers provide political security and peace building in order to help the transiting countries move from hostility environments to peaceful environments.
The objectives of peacekeeping by the United Nations are based on three principles. First, parties of the country that requires assistance must approve. Secondly, these parties must remain neutral in their operations. Lastly, there must be no use of excessive force during the activities of restoring peace except when defending the UN’s objectives or for self-defense (Allee 14).
Currently, the United Nations has deployed its peace operations within four continents successfully. This makes the total number of peace operations of the UN 16 (Allee 14). The focus of this case study is on exploring Afghanistan which is among the peace operations of the UN by analyzing these operations before, during and even after the peacekeeping mission by the UN.
Since 2011, a peacekeeping operation of the UN was started in Syria after a revolt against the government of President Assad by the rebels. An observation has been made that Kofi Anna, the former UN secretary-general and Ban Ki moon’s involvement at various instances did not produce the desired fruits in enhancing the transition of Syria from the revolt to peace. A peacekeeping resolution was adopted by the United Nations in the April of 2012 in its efforts to end the persistent armed violence. The peacekeeping forces of the UN put their efforts in Syria but their success did not reach the level of the one achieved in Afghanistan (Ogunnusi 125).
Background information of the conflict
In Afghanistan, the war began on October 7th 2001. This was after the Australian, United States, United Kingdom, Afghan United Front and France armed forces launched an operation called the “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Primarily, this invasion was due to the September 11th 2001 attacks of the United States. The stipulated objective was to dismantle Al-Qaeda and to prevent this terrorists’ group from using Afghanistan as its base. According to the United States, it was aimed that this move would also depose the government of the Taliban and then put a democratic state in power. There is another fact about the position of the war as it was the second longest conflict of the U.S.
During the first phase, the ultraconservative political and religious group was toppled after ruling Afghanistan for a long time and allowing refuge to al-Qaeda which executed the 11th September attacks. This was a short phase that lasted for two months only. The second phase lasted from 2002 until 2008. This entailed the use of military tactic by the United States in overcoming Taliban as well as rebuilding a mainstay organization of an Afghan nation. The forces of the Taliban started rebelling. The campaign was aimed at opposing a self-governing Islamic Republic. They also opposed the presence of the ISAF-troop (Rothstein 23). The headquarters of these troops was to be situated close to or in Quetta. From 2006, there has been a theatrical augment within the rebellion activity led by Taliban in Afghanistan (Starkey n.p). From 2001 when the alliance launched the offensive attack, more than 5.7 million refugees returned to Afghanistan.
In 2008, a third phase was started. This was hastened by a decision of the President of the United States, Barack Obama in 2009 to augment the existence of the armed forces of the U.S in Afghanistan considerably. This force was used in executing a strategy that entailed defending the Afghan populace from the attacks of the Taliban as well as the efforts of reintegrating rebellion among the Afghan people. By mid-2010, war in Afghanistan had rivaled the war in Vietnam which was the longest U.S warfare.
Operations concept refers to a document with a description of the planned system’s features from the viewpoint of an individual who will use that system. Usually, it is used in communicating quantitative and qualitative system description to every stakeholder.
IMTFs refer to inter-agency as well as inter-departmental mechanisms that are based at the chief Headquarters with an aim of ensuring articulate and consistent support as well as the instruction plan of the UN existence that applies the incorporation code and execution of the IMPP before and also during the field mission. Planning a mission involves all procedures and processes that are important in the preparation of the peacekeeping mission. This entails formulating strategies and setting objectives that the mission should accomplish by the time it ends (IMPP Guidelines 2009).
The command chain refers to a hierarchy that guides the command system’s order. Strategic commander has to abide by the instructions as well as notify the command chain about strategic insinuations of any political decision. Political and military leaders have to meet on regular basis in order to understand each other’s perceptions and also to manage projected solutions of the problems.
Force structure refers to a military group’s part that is competent about battles and this explains how different military equipment and weapons as well as the personnel should be organized for a mission, task or operations that they are expected to accomplish as per a specified service principle or via the demands of a conflict’s context (Moran n.p).
Risk evaluation entails quantitative or qualitative assessment of what is worth risking in relation to the current situation as well as the recognized threat. Several threats can hinder a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan from being successful. The process of gathering information should recognize the basic fundamentals of the augment parties which can intimidate PKO’s members.
According to previous studies, Taliban executed several killings of the citizens while trying to control the Western and Northern regions in Afghanistan. The reports of the officials of the United Nations indicated that from 1996 to 2001, 15 genocides were committed. Shiite Hazaras was the main group that was targeted by these genocides. Additionally, the group led by Osama Bin Laden called the “055 Brigade” was reported to have been responsible for several mass killing cases of the citizens of Afghanistan. The authority of Taliban grew to cover 90% of Afghanistan as of 2001 (Melone and Ramensh 17). As such, Afghanistan was governed by the authorities of Taliban and this provided a safe base for the operations of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
The attack of the United States on 11th September 2001 caused a reaction by the international community to threats that Afghanistan terrorists and those in other parts of the world were presenting. Tough and drastic measures were necessary and these included peace restoration in Afghanistan (Melone and Ramesh 18). Individual countries and the UN Security Council made resolutions and a Taliban authorities’ onslaught was launched in Afghanistan with the support of a military force constituted by the UN and NATO. It was during this response that Afghan forces and the United States started an offensive bombing against the Taliban in 2001 removing the Taliban from power (Green and Chad 64).
For the past 60 years, peacekeeping by the United Nations has become a major tool that the global community uses in controlling multi-faceted crisis which are a threat to global peace and security. From the beginning of this millennium, several civilians, military and police workforces have been deployed by the United Nations for peacekeeping operations across the world reaching exceptional levels. Internationally, political instability and absence of peace within Afghanistan has been a cause for alarm.
From the beginning of 2002, the basis of progression in peace-building in Afghanistan was not a peace accord that was authentic. It was a hypothesis that Taliban was eternally overwhelmed by military intercession prior the defense force that was authorized by the UN (ISAF) as well as the political assignment called the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The plan of building a state faced more confrontation from Taliban resurgent and institutional problems. Three of these challenges stood out.
First, there was disparity of resources and attention. The mission of the United Nations itself was not funded sufficiently. The military delegations run by NATO especially the US Operation Enduring Freedom received apparatus, inflated resources and personnel. Inflated resources augmented more because the operations became a full-fledged battle from protection.
The second situation was the initial agreement on intercession which eventually debauched with Taliban’s renaissance and security state’s decline. Russia and China which are the UN Security Council members as well as other global south states began to question the US actions in the field.
The third problem which was most elementary was the short-term goal of the counter-insurgency via war which persistently undermined long-term objectives of the state-building and peacekeeping mission. This implies that peacekeeping operation was conducted in situations where there was no harmony to be kept. Consequently, the global community became overwhelmed by unconsidered counterinsurgency and therefore it trailed the trustworthiness in acting as self-governing enforcer of peace.
Lack of neutrality has fraught efficiency and legitimacy of global existence within Afghanistan should be redressed. UNAMA and ISAF were established to assist in developing a new government in Afghanistan in 2002. Therefore, neither can be seen to have the intention to be neutral. The issue is complicated by the fact that troops from different member-states of the Security Council made direct contribution in the war.
The peacekeeping operations of the UN administered the UNAMA mission. They also coordinated the operations of about 23 agencies within Afghanistan (Arnold 79). It was also their mandate to provide strategic and political advice regarding the peace process, enhance the activity level of the country internationally, as well as to assist the Afghanistan government in the implementation of the 2006 compact and to participate in protecting human rights in Afghanistan (Arnold 79). On 22nd March 2012, the UN Security Council approved the resolution 2041 (2012). This acted as the UNAMAS obligations’ renewal to the March of 2013 (Arnold 79).
Continuous operation and annual renewal of UNAMA showed that the peacekeeping mission of the UN was successful in Afghanistan because Taliban authorities were removed from power and a democratic government took over power through an electoral process (Sunil 21). Additionally, the secretary general of the UN gives report to Security Council regarding the situation in Afghanistan twice per year. There are other reports that are prepared by the Security Council, UN agencies and special representatives in Afghanistan. All these support the conclusion that the UN peacekeeping mission was successful (Sunil 21).
Findings of the study
According to the findings of the study, there are six peacekeeping operation and major operation tasks that can be connected to any endeavor of peacekeeping and these can be sustained by ground, air, maritime and space operations. These three operations are internal supervision and assistance, monitoring protocol conditions as well as peace observation. Six tasks of the operation are free territories’ management, cease-fires supervision, withdrawals and disengagements management, exchanges of war prisoner’s supervision, demobilization and demilitarization’s supervision as well as order and law safeguarding.
Pashtum tribes occupy the territory exclusively. These also live in the neighboring eastern region of Afghanistan, the Khyber Paktunkhwa. Their religion is Islam. Frontier Crimes Regulations are used to oversee the territory. Although it is subjected to the regime’s authorization, Afghanistan Air Authority on grounds of military obligation and public safety prohibits and restricts consistent flights of airplane over specific regions in Afghan territory. The management of free territories is a task that is achieved through the implementation and protection of the constitution of Afghanistan, more so a section that allows the government control over its territories. The government has the right to protect land and airspace territories from any external attack.
According to this study, UN peacekeeping uses ceasefire technique. Ceasefire refers to war stoppage that is usually momentary after the agreement of both sides to dangle their destructive actions. This can be declared through an official agreement although it has also been declared in form of unofficial sympathy between the fighting forces. Truce refers to the official accord of ending war. Peacekeeping responsibility is allocated to ground forces and their main mission is to man observer groups as well as to supply the peacekeeping forces to implement and examine the procedure terms as established by the UN. The military severance of the fighting groups can be overseen by these elements during conflict and disengagements as well as cease fires and combatants withdrawal. For these errands to be achieved, the body that is responsible for peacekeeping is required to establish buffer zones and monitor the cease-fire.
Withdrawal behaviors involve the actions that individuals take when physically or psychologically disengaged from an institution. These withdrawal behaviors are mental and they include least job efforts, absence of inventiveness and inactive fulfillment. Psychological withdrawals are usually in form of weak thoughts about a job and idleness.
The installation of peacekeeping force splits the fighting sides while launching a buffer zone. The existence of this force reassures every side that the armistice will not be breached by the other side. The separation line is surveyed and controlled by the peacekeepers. Peacekeepers discourage penetration while easing disengagement of the confrontation forces. They also help in the resolution of local clashes. Cease fire lines, disengagements or withdrawals, limits for military deployment, resident movements within the boarder lines and armistice can be observed using air elements. Air supervision is important because it helps in observing aggressive parties.
Prisoners’ exchange among the belligerents occurs harmoniously as per the agreements that are reached for a reason. Such agreements are exclusively created on voluntary basis and they cannot be reached by putting prisoners through hardships. There is a compulsory force of these agreements and just like other conformities among belligerents, they depend on good faith or will of the contracting parties. Dishonoring the conditions of the agreement makes it no longer mandatory for the other party. Since the agreement is mutual, it should not be breached by both parties and war prisoners ought to be exchanged in order to facilitate the peacekeeping process.
Demilitarization entails removing military forces from the demilitarized zones. Demilitarized zones ought not to be entered by the opposing party’s military force. On the other hand, demobilization entails taking military forces from active service. Once the belligerents have been separated, buffer zones are established to ensure that the confronting parties are detached. Typically, buffer zones are based on armistice demarcations or cease-fire lines. The buffer zone must mark the forward restrictions agreed on by belligerent parties clearly. Aggressive parties’ forces are not allowed to enter the buffer zone because it is demilitarized.
Safeguarding order and law is a basic tool that promotes peacekeeping operations. This ensures harmonious co-existence of the citizens. When people maintain order and observe the law, peace prevails automatically. The local operations of peacekeeping forces are not directed at the implementation of anything past the agreed ceasefire and armistice. It aims at restoring order and law in situations where the government has broken down or collapsed. The body that engages in peacekeeping ought to ask the Afghanistan government as well as the conflicting nations, which are responsible for restoring and maintaining order and law, to put extra measures in place in order to end violence and bloodshed in these nations.
The peacekeeping force members are not subjected to passport and visa regulations as well as immigration inspection and restrictions on departure or entrance from a host country which in this case is Afghanistan. They are also exempted from the rules that govern foreigners’ habituation in Afghanistan which include registration. However, they are not allowed the right to acquire permanent domicile habituation in that nation.
Peacekeeping force members can be required to present though not to give away identity cards if the Afghanistan authorities demand so as it may be agreed on mutually between the Commander and the Afghanistan government during exist and transition.
Peacekeeping refers to military or paramilitary operations that start with a consent of the chief belligerents. It is aimed at facilitating and monitoring the achievement of the existing truce as well as maintaining diplomatic efforts in order to reach a long term resolution politically. Before a peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan, getting consent from the belligerents is necessary. This entails engaging the fighting parties in a dialogue as well as informing them about the essence of the peacekeeping operation as per international codes.
The most important aspect of any peacekeeping operation is to get consent from the countries or country involved in a conflict as well as the major parties. An effective operation upholds impartiality. All involved parties have to be persuaded that no party shall be favored. PKOs are different from any form of domestic security because the peacekeeping forces do not act with an aim of helping the government. They are impartial. If impartiality causes a peacekeeping body to lose its reputation, it loses its value as well. Peacekeeping persons’ training ought to emphasize self-discipline, professionalism, patience, flexibility, tact and inquisitiveness. Peacekeeping forces should avoid any form of imbalanced treatment while avoiding off-the-record and contentious comments that can easily reach the wrong audience.
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
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.
IMPP Guidelines 2009, “Role of the Headquarters: Integrated Planning for UN Field presences.”
Ogunnusi, Michael. Understanding Peacekeeping, British Journal of Community Justice, 2010, 8(3): 121-230.
Malone, David, and Ramesh Thakur. UN Peacekeeping: Lessons Learned? Journal on Global Governance, 2001, 7(1): 12-56.
Moran Michael, “Modern military force structures,” October 26 2006, council on foreign relations. Web. 30 November 2013 http://www.cfr.org/world/modern-military-force-structures/p11819
Rothstein, Hy, Afghanistan: and the troubled future of unconventional warfare. Annapolis: US Naval Institute Press, 2006. Print
Starkey, Jerome. “Karzai’s Taliban talks raise spectre of civil war warns former spy chief”. The Scotsman, 30 September 2010.
Sunil, Ram. American Military University, The History of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations During the Cold War, Routledge, 2006. Print.