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NEWS | May 28, 2015

American adviser mentors Afghans on rule of law

By By Sean Dath, Resolute Support Public Affairs

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, May 28, 2015 - The train, advise and assist mission under NATO's Resolute Support focuses on eight key areas called "essential functions" that are crucial to the continued development of Afghan security forces.

Rule of law and governance is one of the essential functions and promotes civilian governance of the security forces in an effort to maintain an effective and transparent criminal and disciplinary system.

U.S. Army Capt. Michael Levin, rule of law adviser for the police advisory team at Operational Base Fenty, conducts key leader engagements, or KLEs, with Afghan police detectives, prosecutors and judges in eastern Afghanistan to provide guidance on how to work within the rules of their system.

"During our KLEs we will teach them specific techniques like showing the police how to properly handle evidence," said Levin. "Our main goal is to get our counterparts to operate within the confines of their laws."

According to Levin, having their Afghan colleagues demonstrate their knowledge of the law will go a long way toward strengthening the rule of law and building a sense of trust in the system with the citizens of Afghanistan.

"One of the areas we work on is building competency and then taking that competency and putting it out there in accordance with their laws," Levin said. "When the Afghan people see that the law is being adhered to, it gives them confidence in the justice system."

Since his arrival in Afghanistan in January, Levin said he and his team have observed some improvements with their counterparts' ability to follow the rule of law. One important success has been the Afghan law enforcement officials' ability to use search warrants in accordance with the new Afghan Criminal Procedure Code, which was issued in 2014.

"We've worked with the agents as well as the prosecutors to emphasize the importance of using these warrants as their Criminal Procedure Code mandates," said Levin. "So as long as they are enforcing their laws and adhering to their rules, that is a big accomplishment."

The eight essential functions "provide the framework and guidelines that will enable Afghanistan and its security forces to sustain their efforts and guide Afghanistan into a brighter future," according to a Resolute Support fact sheet.

In addition to rule of law, the other essential functions include:

- Multiyear budgeting and execution of programs

- Transparency, accountability and oversight (prevent corruption)

- Force generation (recruit, train and equip the force)

- Sustainment (supply and maintenance)

- Strategy and policy planning, resourcing and execution (plan and resource campaigns)

- Intelligence

- Strategic communication.

The NATO mission in Afghanistan draws about 13,000 troops from about 40 contributing nations.