Photo courtesy of 205th Regional
Corps Advisory Command
Maj. Paul Waldron, left, teaches
basic law concepts to the legal
staff of the 205th Corps, Afghan
National Army, at Camp Shir Zai.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan —
Ten members of the legal staff of the 205th Corps, Afghan
National Army, were grounded in basic law concepts recently
at Camp Shir Zai, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Maj. Paul Waldron, a Utah
Army National Guard Soldier mobilized from his home in
Pleasant Grove, Utah, and now the command judge advocate for
the 205th Regional Corps Advisory Command (P), led a focused
discussion that covered topics such as the rule of law;
separation of powers among the legislative, executive and
judicial branches; independence of the judiciary;
fundamental fairness; due process; impartiality and double
To facilitate the transfer
of knowledge, Waldron, with the able assistance of
interpreter Abdul Azim Satarzada, prepared slides of the
presentation in Dari, the native language of Afghan Army
lawyers in attendance.
During the presentation,
Waldron referred to similar slides displayed on another
computer in English.
The meeting began on an
appropriate note, with the playing of the national anthem of
Satarzada suggested to
Waldron that he include the patriotic song, because it would
inspire the Afghan Soldiers, and they would be impressed
with the fact that this training was specifically for them
and for the better good of Afghanistan.
Col. Shir Ahmad Zarak, staff judge advocate for the Afghan
205th Corp, then provided a brief introduction, stating that
he and his team were pleased about the training they were to
Waldron emphasized that he wanted a dialogue between himself
and his students.
“I want this to be a discussion among ourselves,” he stated.
“I want us to talk about issues when they come up.”
Waldron began his lesson with one of the most important
legal concepts: the rule of law.
The Afghan lawyers and judges were asked what they believed
“rule of law” meant.
One judge responded immediately and with conviction in his
voice: “Rule of law means that all citizens of Afghanistan
are subject to the same law.”
Waldron affirmed the judge’s answer and replied, “We need to
have faith, confidence and belief in the rule of law.”
Regarding the concept of separation of powers, Waldron
advised his students that it is “important to understand
that the legislative, executive and judicial branches have
separate powers that prevent one branch from encroaching on
At times, the discussion became quite animated, as Afghan
lawyers wrestled with these important concepts.
It is very clear from their comments and questions that they
are committed to expanding their understanding of the law
and to putting that knowledge to use in the service of the
Several participants commented that the training was very
valuable and useful. So useful, they said, that they didn’t
realize that more than two hours had passed when the
This initial block of instruction began with the basics, a
foundation upon which more difficult legal concepts may be
built, Waldron said.
“We have to show the [Afghan Army] leadership that the law
works and how to use it effectively,” Waldron asserted. “We
need to be confident experts in our jobs.”
“It is my firm belief that the 205th RCAC is leading the way
in ANA training on legal issues,” he added.
The group continued with four more days of training covering
the areas of the Afghan Constitution, the Afghan Law of
Military Courts Code, Afghan Military Criminal Procedure
Code, Afghan Military Punitive Articles, the Afghan
Nonjudicial Punishment Code and practice pointers from
Reprinted from the Phoenix
Patriot, the official publication of Combined Joint Task
Force Phoenix V.