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Restoring Peace in a Wartorn Country: Peacekeepers and Afghanistan.

Gohar, Ali
June 4, 2015

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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