By Dialogo February 15, 2011 To stop the Taliban and terrorists, Afghans must have confidence in their government’s ability to deliver justice and resolve civil disputes, the commander of a “rule of law” force in Afghanistan said. Speaking with Pentagon reporters via video teleconference, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins said the Afghan government must deliver on establishing the rule of law in Afghan provinces, districts and sub-districts. Afghan officials need to craft “sound governance that will enable an enduring transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces and deny this rugged country as a sanctuary for global threats,” the general said. Failure, he said, could duplicate conditions found in Afghanistan after the fall of the communist government in 1991. “It’s worth recalling that there were core grievances 20 years ago in the Afghanistan of the early 1990s that spawned and subsequently empowered the Taliban, leading to the opening of this land as a safe haven for al-Qaida,” Martins said. “One of these grievances was the inability of the post-communist Afghan governments to establish a foundation at the sub-national level.” The government dissolved, and local warlords fought desperately for control. The fighting fueled hatred as the warlords sought to compel obedience through the use of force in support of blatant self-interest, Martins noted. “Under such conditions,” he said, “even the harsh and repressive forms of dispute resolution and discipline, advertised by the Taliban as justice, seemed a tolerable alternative.” Afghanistan has 34 provinces and 369 districts, and the local and provincial governments are weak. Martins said his rule of law field force helps Afghan officials establish rule-of-law “green zones” in recently cleared areas in Afghanistan. The command works with coalition and Afghan military and police units, as well as coalition civilian officials from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United Nations and other committed international donors. The Afghan government is in the lead, Martins said, and the command falls under the aegis of the United Nations. Martins focused on the unit’s efforts in Kandahar City. Coalition and Afghan forces, he said, cleared the western part of the city of Taliban fighters. Now, they’re working to hold the area, which houses the Afghan government’s Saraposa detention facility, often held up by critics as a symbol of the government’s ineffectiveness. “In 2008, some 400 Taliban prisoners escaped in a daring daylight attack,” Martins said. “Assassinations of investigators, bribery of prosecutors, intimidation of justices and attacks upon witnesses have corrupted the system and obscured both evidence and law.” The detention facility now is part of a rule-of-law green zone, Martins said. The secure area is “projecting criminal justice, as well as mediation and civil-dispute resolution, to outlying districts” as the Chel Zeena Criminal Investigative Center, he added. “The immediate goal of Chel Zeena is to conduct professional, evidence-based investigations, and independent, law-governed prosecutions of the individuals detained in the newly refurbished Saraposa pretrial detention facility adjacent to it,” Martins said. The Chel Zeena Center features efficient offices, around-the-clock lighting and utilities, administrative facilities, evidence and hearing rooms, as well as protective housing for investigators, prosecutors, guards and clerical personnel. These people are constantly in danger, the general said, and the complex gives them the chance to do their jobs safely.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Sponsored Content Brought To You By NY Auto Giant‘Tis the season to escape to the New York State treasure that are the Catskills. It’s not too late for a quick getaway before the craziness of the holidays consume you and your family. The weather is crisp, but not unbearable. The mood is mellower, yet full of the sweet buzz of anticipation. Yes, hot, steaming lattes abound.Before the stores become packed with shoppers and the quaint corners of our beautiful state become tourist traps, hop in your favorite vehicle for a road trip that will take you up to the Catskills, where you can actually enjoy the offerings of the winter season.You’ll need to find the perfect chariot for your adventure, of course. We recommend the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder.With its smooth styling, comfortable ride and powerful engine, the Pathfinder is equipped with new safety features such as blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert for 2015 that make this the ultimate family transport.What’s that, you say? You’re looking for luxury options, too?How about tri-zone automatic climate control, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and a six-speaker audio system? How do you like leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a power liftgate, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, eight-inch multi-information touch-screen display, navigation, a panoramic sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio, rear parking sensors and a 13-speaker Bose premium audio system?How you like them apples, fellow road adventurers!?This magic sleigh ride upstate is just the beginning of your special quest.Exit your Pathfinder and enter some events that are sure to whet your appetite for the upcoming winter festivities. Drive on over to Chilly Willy Winter’s Eve Tours, where you can welcome in the season with a costumed tour guide. Check out the Bronck houses decorated for the celebrations of Martinmas, St. Nicholas Day and St. Lucia Day.Click here to learn more about NY Auto GiantThe town of Bovina welcomes Christmas at the Old Bovina Creamery, where your whole family can sample the locally made products—including jams, syrups, honey, baked treats and cheeses. Yes, fellow road-food marauders, cheeses!You’ll find unique craft items and the perfect gifts to check off your list. Who needs Walmart when you can stroll through more than 50 local farm and artisan exhibits, accompanied by live music, delicious food in the pine-scented air of the Bovina creamery, made such by the abundance of holiday wreaths and trees to strap to the top of your Pathfinder to take back home with you?The answer is: No one, friends. You want to be in your Pathfinder and you want to be cruisin’ up to the Catskills!Hungry yet? Head on over to Barnwood Restaurant in Catskill for what is arguably the best fried chicken you will ever have in your entire life. (We say “arguably” because of our special affinity for Hattie’s Chicken and Waffles in Saratoga—Read About Their Supreme Succulent Glory Here—is a pretty darn high bar to top.) This is chicken Colonel Sanders might sneak out the backdoor of a KFC and head over to, reveling in their unique mix or herbs, spices, and the perfect crisp. Huge portions and affordable prices set this place apart. The warm, cozy atmosphere will be the perfect setting to connect with your family, discuss your Catskill adventure and share all your new discoveries.Would you prefer Asian fare? Drive over to Bridge Street in Catskill and have a seat at the sushi bar at Chopstick for a meal you won’t forget. The chef here specializes in delicacies from China, Thailand and Japan, so come hungry and ready to try it all. We recommend the Thai curry, General Tao chicken and the imaginative sushi rolls.Ready to get on the road? Sure you are!Call Joe Montalvo at Atlantic Nissan or Tom Coppola at Massapequa Nissan. Climb into your new Pathfinder and blaze your trail into the Catskill Mountains, where you can kick off the holiday season in style, comfort, and adventure—one month early.