Human rights activists began to develop strategies for a transitional justice process in Afghanistan soon after the United States-led intervention in 2001. By mid-decade the efforts had culminated in an officially supported action plan, however the plan was timid and prosecutions were at any rate neutralised by a subsequent amnesty law promulgated by the Afghan Parliament. Throughout, loose but enduring coalitions of national and international actors formed on both sides of the issue. This ensured that the question did not go away, but also that nothing was resolved. As chronicled in the ethnographic and process-oriented narrative below, the nascent institutions of the Afghan state itself became the arena for the negotiations and contestations in this struggle.

Keywords: Afghanistan, Civil Society, Human Rights, Transitional Justice, United Nations