START in Afghanistan

Afghan police look on as they learn about generator maintenance at a training session in Afghanistan

As Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan has transitioned to a non-combat mission in 2011, Global Peace and Security Fund programming has been restructured to focus more at the national level. This includes primarily programming in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, and in other areas throughout the country. Security/policing, rule of law and human rights, regional diplomacy and mine actions are the focus of our programming in the next three fiscal years (2011-2014).  This focus builds on Canada’s significant experience and investments in Afghanistan to date, to support Afghan-developed priorities and sustain key areas essential to Afghanistan’s future.

With an allotted budget of $ 25.5 million per year for each year from 2011 to 2014, START continues to work closely with other government departments, donor governments, multilateral organizations and civil society organizations to concentrate its efforts in three (3) strategic areas of priority in Afghanistan. These strategic areas of priority are outlined as follows:

1) Lending support to Afghan National Police (ANP) reform, through:

  • Provision of training and mentoring of the Afghan National Police -- to instil community policing values in Afghan National Police training, develop skills and knowledge of officers and non-commissioned officers, and offer targeted training in areas such as criminal investigations, forensics and gender-based crime.
  • Strengthening institutional capacity building -- in particular that of the Afghan Ministry of Interior, to further develop its ability to provide leadership and operational support to Afghan National Police in the provinces through the deployment of experts.
  • Countering corruption -- via support to initiatives which increase the ability of the Afghan National Police to prevent and investigate corruption and protect the impartiality of police investigations, contributing to an improved integrity of the police force and its professionalization, which includes attention to women’s and girls’ human rights and protection needs.

2) Strengthening the Afghan rule of law sector and improving the protection of human rights, through;

  • Improving access to justice and capacity of citizens to recognize and advocate for their human rights, including efforts such as raising legal awareness, providing legal assistance, supporting Afghan civil society organizations, supporting the democratic elections process and similar reforms, and supporting societal reconciliation through means such as inter-ethnic dialogue.
  • Strengthening institutional capacity building, and in turn allowing government institutions -- in particular the Ministry of Justice -- to draft and implement Afghan laws, as well as fulfill their human rights obligations.

3) Promoting regional diplomacy initiatives, including an increased support to regional cooperation efforts, and regional peace and stability, through;

  • Providing diplomatic and programming support to initiatives in support of regional cooperation and economic development
  • Providing support to address the cross-border challenges to regional stability, such as counter-narcotics, customs, migration and law enforcement.

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Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) Training Center

START's programming support to Afghan national police reform includes the establishment and construction of a secure training facility in Kandahar City. The facility has been used to professionalize members of the ANP and other Afghan Rule of Law officials.  Since 2009, approximately 900 ANP, corrections and justice officials have been trained at the center by fellow Afghan instructors from the ANP Regional Training Centre in Kandahar and Afghan guest speakers, coupled with training and mentorship by Canadian and American personnel deployed to the region.  The Centre was transitioned from Canadian backing to NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A) support in March 2011 and continues to this day to provide specialized training to Rule of Law actors in the province.

Strengthening the Capacity of Afghan Ministry of Justice Legislative Drafting Unit

START's efforts in Afghanistan to strengthen rule of law and improve the protection of human rights are illustrated through its partnership with CANADEM, whereby START funding has enabled the deployment of a technical advisor to the Ministry of Justice to provide assistance in improving the Ministry staff's capacity to effectively draft, revise, translate and promulgate laws of the Afghan government in the legislative drafting unit, referred to as the Taqnin. This justice project included providing equipment materials such as legal books to establish a library; computers, laptops, scanners to equip the computer room; and developing an online legal database for the Taqnin. Moreover, Canadian support to the project helped establish a Translation Unit in the Taqnin and provided training activities such as language classes.

Support to the Afghanistan Pakistan Cooperation Process (APCP)

In support of Afghanistan becoming a more safe, secure and prosperous nation within a more peaceful and stable region, START funding has facilitated the Afghanistan-Pakistan Cooperation Process (the ‘Dubai Process’) to enhance understanding and confidence between senior officials involved in border management from the Governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result of START’s contribution, progress has been made by both Governments in jointly identifying key projects to develop compatible biometrics systems at the border, promote coordination on counter-narcotics, inhibit the illegal shipment of precursor chemicals, improve information-sharing between the two countries, and provide much-needed equipment and training to border agencies.

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