Source: (2007) International Journal of Restorative Justice. May (2007):100-107.

Over and above local, regional, and national systems of criminal justice, the world community, today, helps to ensure peace through the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers. Unfortunately, such peacekeepers are usually tasked to a situation after the indigenous population has been through years of conflict. While the uniforms may change, the psyche of the population remains the same. A man with a rifle is a man with a rifle! The peace efforts of peacekeepers remain, at first anyway, mostly unnoticed to the common people. A situation exacerbated when peacekeepers are seen wounding, killing, and destroying infrastructure. While the peacekeeping forces may explain such actions by noting self-defence, or the war on terrorism, the indigenous population sees only the continuation of the wounding, the killing, and the destruction of their homes and communities by those in uniform. This is not forgotten when peacekeepers engage in reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. You destroy, you build, you destroy. You hurt, you heal, you hurt. It is a vicious cycle with no end, and little hope in sight. If Western governments truly wish to bring peace to Afghanistan, they must change the way they go about peacekeeping. While it would be ludicrous to suggest that armed United Nations peacekeepers withdraw entirely, leaving those tasked with reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts defenceless in a dangerous and war-ravaged environment, it is not ludicrous to suggest that frontline contact, with common people, be more in line with aid organizations who try to understand indigenous culture and traditions while fostering dialogue, than with those brandishing arms. (excerpt)

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