Book Review: Statebuilding and Justice Reform: Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Afghanistan

As the author clearly sets out, this book analyses the justice sector reform (JSR) in Afghanistan undertaken since the United States’ military intervention in 2001 by focusing on the rule of foreign actors and their interaction with local stakeholders.



In a nutshell, the author highlights that the justice development programmes such as the World Bank’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) Justice Project should be implemented with pooled multilateral aid monies with long-term targets which involves national authorities and relevant local stakeholders.

In particular, it is argued that the ARTF’s funded National Justice Programme (NJP) will benefit JSR by adopting a multilateral funding system to avoid wasted monies and improve clearer roles between international and domestic stakeholders and refocus donor intervention. Such a multilateral funding system may limit the negative impact of the externally driven political goals of single international donors and bilateral projects that often drive short-term and wasted financial aid on sub-contracting instead of focusing on justice development programmes to reduce traditional donors’ technical and financial assistance. This novel solution to minimise wasted aid and numerous bilateral justice reform projects with clearer long-term projects are the main contributions made by the book.

The author’s analytical framework of JSR is developed from the international community’s statebuilding operations, namely the international transitional administrations in Bosnia, Kosovo, East Slavonia and East Timor from the mid to late 1990s. After examining these statebuilding case studies implemented during the 1990s, the author links the approaches and features observed in these cases with Afghanistan post-2001 JSR. In specific, the author claims that the ‘light-footprint approach’ of quasi-state administrations in Kosovo and East Timor was also adopted in Afghanistan.

*Published in Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security (JCTS) Vol. 2 | No. 1
© Copyright 2012 by CESRAN
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