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UN Official: Afghanistan Needs Police Force and Judiciary - 2002-03-27

A U.N. official says money is needed to provide security in Afghanistan. U.N. special investigator Kamal Hossain says the money will be used to expand the International Security Assistance Force and to develop an Afghan national police force.

In a report just submitted to the Human Rights Commission, Kamal Hossain said the interim government's most important task is to create a police force and independent judiciary so the rule of the law can replace the rule of the gun.

The special investigator says the Afghan government must create an environment in which people can live free of fear.

"The first priority in terms of restoring human rights is security, because any kind of a vacuum where the instruments of law enforcement are not in place is where persons feel a sense of fear and insecurity. And, I think, there is no doubt that today all Afghans would tell you that what we want is a sense of security," he said.

The report documents many cases of violent crimes in Afghanistan. It says crimes go unpunished because there is no nationwide police force to catch and prosecute perpetrators.

Mr. Hossain said Kabul and surrounding areas enjoy a high degree of stability because nearly 5,000 international peacekeepers are stationed there. To make the rest of the country safer, the special investigator says the interim government would like the force to be expanded to between 20,000 and 30,000.

"So much [is] going to be at stake if a modest request for, say, 10-20,000 international security support force is not urgently and immediately made available to stabilize the environment, to allow this democratic process to move forward. There is no other feasible option," he said.

Mr. Hossain said a society cannot build enduring peace and stability when crimes are not punished.