International law and the classification of conflicts
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2012
This chapter critically examins the classification of the conflict in Afghanistan, subdividing the 2001-2010 period in two: from October 2001 to the installation of Hamid Karzai and from then to the present. The author reaches the conclusion that the legal problems encountered in the course of the hostilities against and within Afghanistan did not result from difficulties in classifying the conflicts but that the phase of non-international armed conflict does, however, exemplify a situation where formal classification does not always help with the problems on the ground, particularly in relation to operations the conduct of which varies not according to the legal classification of the conflict, but according to the nature of the task and the constraints of policy. It was the gap in international humanitarian law relating to non-international armed conflict, controversies with regard to the scope of applicability of international human rights law, and multiple participants with different views of the law and policy which caused most of the problems in practice.