Legal Pluralism Is Among the Term Paper

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President Karzai confirmed that the sharia would remain as the law of the land but gave assurances that amputation punishments would not be enforced (Shea 2002). He stressed that very strict rules applied in such cases. Extreme sharia had no room for checks on judicial power. Extreme sharia's all-powerful judicial mechanism excludes democracy and sharply reduces human freedom. With its 7th-century laws and punishments, the Supreme Court was not only another branch of government but the very seat of power. Countries with religious judges were in direct command of coercive powers. The president or parliament could not override their decisions and no politician or journalist could criticize them. It would be blasphemy to do so. With the drafting of a new constitution after a year-long process, the country's legislative body could prevent the portent spoken of by Shinwari. It would be crucial to the protection and expansion of human freedoms that Afghanistan not be defined as a sharia state; that the judiciary not be given control over law enforcement; that sharia jurisdiction exclude criminal law; and that the training in human-rights jurisprudence be required of all the members of the Supreme Court (Shea).

Those involved in formulating future policy in Afghanistan may find certain observations worth considering (Maloney 2004). Most of Afghanistan is in a post-Apocalyptic environment. The ideological and spiritual wreckage inflicted by the Taliban on Afghan peoples would equate with a drought brought about by the destruction of irrigation systems and aquifers by Soviet explosives and tanks. Illiteracy in Afghanistan was reaching 80 to 90%. Most of its infrastructure was desolate and there was virtually no industry. "Doctors" in remote villages were only second-generation descendants of Western-trained medical people. It would be in the Year Zero. Many civil institutions were headed by men in their 70s because they were the only surviving memento from the pre-Soviet period (Maloney).

It would be counterproductive to reconstruction objectives and efforts to antagonize "warlords" or call them to account for their violent operating methods under Western legal structures (Maloney 2004). The tendency to be judgmental must be resisted. It would be advantageous to work with them. Outright removing them would trigger waves of violence, which could defeat or destroy what had been already been built and achieved (Maloney).

Democracy and human rights in Afghanistan, according to Western concept and understanding, might not be feasible or possible in the short-term (Maloney 2004). Inter-tribal and inter-ethnic politics in the country were and have been complex. Its high level of illiteracy and the perceivably high levels of political intimidation, which could accompany any Western form of electoral process could suppress or defeat the mere concept of democracy. Modernization, rather than democratization, should be the initial concept. The Afghan people have a traditional system and the issue would be whether they could or should change it to satisfy outsiders (Maloney).

A strong Operation Enduring Freedom or OEF and an equally strong International Security Assistance Force or ISAF in Afghanistan have greatly contributed to stabilization effort, particularly by eliminating al Qaeda and Taliban influence in the territorial confines of Afghanistan (Maloney 2004). What should be done with these and how the Afghans would perceive what would be done would be an important factor in the overall effort (Maloney).

The Afghans had a general but serious mistrust of the United Nations (Maloney 2004). This made the OEF more effective, although this condition was viewed to be temporary and related to influence generation, information gathering, and force protection as much as humanitarian assistance. The Provincial Reconstruction Team or PRT concept could be a proper step. It would be more effective or beneficial to coordinate humanitarian and reconstruction assistance at the provincial level than through some UN structure or an initiative from the Kabul-based central government. The only problem was in the selection of the means to protect it (Maloney).

A primary external problem to the overall effort in Afghanistan would be the events in Pakistan where Taliban and al Qaeda remnants could be hiding (Maloney 2004). The capability of the Musharraf government to catch them was disputed in addition to the inter-ethnic and tribal problems within Pakistani borders. Obsolete strains of Islam were said to flourish in that region, which made it a breeding ground. The U.S. Pakistan policy would merit attention and its Afghan policy made part of it (Maloney).

CIA analyst supposed that, prior to the invasion of Iraq, the al Qaeda could have allowed Afghanistan to deteriorate so that American forces could be ensnared into it (Maloney 2004). Iraq would be more accessible to terrorists and offered more targets at this time. If the Iraq situation changed and reduced American presence, as a consequence, the al Qaeda or its affiliates might re-focus their attention on the Western forces in Afghanistan (Maloney).

The future and fate of the Afghan peoples would lie in the decisions taken by them and their leaders (Maloney 2004). Any change would be on account of the decisions taken by those exerting power throughout Afghanistan. The primary purpose of American presence in Afghanistan was and is the destruction of al Qaeda, its Taliban shield and support structure and the discontinuation of the use of the country as a sanctuary for al Qaeda operations. These objectives have been achieved. The rest is analogy (Maloney).


1. Current Events. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth. Weekly Reader Corporation, 2001

2. Maloney, Sean M. Afghanistan: from Here to Eternity. Parameters: U.S. Army War College, 2004

3. Shea, Nina. Sharia in Kabul? National Review: National Review, Inc., 2002

4. Veneman, Ann M. Can America Pull Off a Triple Play? USA Today: Society for the Advancement of Education, 2004

5. Van Cott, Donna Lee. A Political Analysis of Legal Pluralism in Bolivia and…[continue]

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