2 Asian Journal of Legal Education 3(1)
Afghanistan faces an uncertain future with the official departure of foreign combat troops and a
resurgence by Taliban and other anti-government forces.4 The political and economic survival of this
Central Asian nation is being closely monitored by international diplomats, military officers, human
rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and development specialists. ‘New Day’ (Nowruz in
Farsi) is an allusion to the holiday that marks the beginning of the Persian New Year and Spring Equinox.
This past year, the celebration of Nowruz, observed in parts of the world under the cultural influence of
Iran, took on a special significance in Afghanistan ‘as the country embarked upon a new path of peace
and independence’.5 This turning point presents an opportunity for furthering legal education innovation
in which the participants’ consumption of time and assumption of risk take on a new meaning.
The law and Shari’a faculties6 now have a critical mass of professors who are familiar with the
principles of interactive teaching and experiential education,7 and a number of students eager to practise
professional lawyering skills and to assist real clients. Many deans and other administrators are keen on
the idea of hosting a legal clinic or an innovative educational initiative.
Piloting a clinical programme requires a team of dedicated professors who are willing to be engaged
and accountable, and to exercise leadership—some of whom have a background in practice or relevant
field of substantive law. This team of junior and senior faculty members should remain in continuous
and long-term contact with their peers and practitioners across the nation, and with clinicians in the
Global South and North, through conferences, Skype calls and on-site exchanges for work, study and
observation. This should include a partnership with an established law school for study, clinical practice
and clinic tutorials and periodic visits by consultants who offer hands-on technical assistance and
critique. This kind of continuous, contemporaneous, face-to-face contact with veteran clinicians from
the Unites States (US), Europe, Australia or Asia is invaluable in helping to keep neophyte clinical
instructors ‘on track’.
4 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) formally ended its mission
in December 2014. In several parts of the country, the Taliban insurgency and political control has never actually subsided since
the demise of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in December 2001. In fact, civilian casualties have increased and Taliban
attacks have spread to new provinces since a smaller number of American and international troops replaced ISAF in January 2015.
Joseph Goldstein & Mujib Mashal, Taliban Fighters Capture Kunduz City as Afghan Forces Retreat, The new York Times,
29 September 2015, at p. A-1, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/world/asia/taliban-fighters-enter-city-of-kunduz-
in-northern-afghanistan.html (last visited October 15, 2015). In addition to other anti-government militants, there are also
fundamentalist threats to democratic governance posed by the more recent influx of fighters aligned with the Islamic State (Daesh).
Sudarsan Raghavan, Foreign Fighters are Spilling into Afghanistan, Helping the Taliban, The wAshingTon PosT, 14 April 2015,
p. A-6, available at https://advance.lexis.com (last visited October 15, 2015).
5 Sayed Jawad, Afghanistan Celebrates Nowruz, khAAmA Press, 21 March 2015, available at http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-
celebrates-nowruz-new-year-9946 (last visited July 10, 2015). The Commander of the New Resolute Support Mission evoked
these same words in his holiday message and further declared: ‘Nowruz is the time to celebrate…the rebirth of the world around
us. Rebirth and renewal are fitting sentiments for Afghanistan….This year, we look forward to seeing this ancient land continue to
become a stable, peaceful and prosperous country. Manana Tashakur.’ Id.
6 The terms ‘legal programme’ or ‘legal faculties’ may be used when referring jointly to the faculty of law and political science and
to the Shari’a faculty.
7 Education and training of these professors has been overseen in large part by Legal Education Support Program-Afghanistan
(LESPA), a collaborative effort of the United States (US) State Department, Afghan Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) and
various public Afghan legal faculties, as administered by the University of Washington (UW) School of Law, available at https://
www.law.washington.edu/Programs/LESPA/ (last visited July 10, 2015). Other NGOs actively involved in supporting Afghan
clinical legal education have included the Open Society Foundations, Global Rights, International Law Foundation and TetraTech
DPK. See infra text accompanying notes 26–30.