March 02, 2022
A personal reflection based on nearly 15 years’ experience in Afghanistan; a review of Afghan history, especially regarding the 21st Century, and its ethnic and political challenges; how such challenges led to the need for humanitarian and development assistance over the last 20 years, and in particular the need for urgent assistance to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis; and an overview of how the international community, including the United Nations, has been operating, and continues to operate, across the country in support of the Afghan people.
Paul Cruickshank comes from a military background, having served with the British Army for 20 years. He is a graduate of the British Army Command and Staff College (1994-1995), and was later appointed Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999, for his contribution to strategic military planning for peace support operations in the Balkans. His last deployment in the army was to Afghanistan at the end of 2001 as part of the international effort to remove the Taliban regime and commence reconstruction across the country.
Paul joined the UN in Afghanistan in 2002 and helped set up, plan and implement the Afghan Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme. At the end of disarmament and demobilization, he moved to Indonesia (Banda Aceh) to set up and manage support to the Indonesian Government’s response to the 2004 tsunami. In 2006, Paul was posted to Iraq as Senior Advisor on Security Sector Reform. In 2009, he moved to Kosovo to manage the Support to Security Sector Reform programme, before returning to Afghanistan in 2010 to set up and run UK DFID’s M&E programme in Helmand province. He re-joined the UN in early 2011, before being posted to South Sudan as Director and Representative in early 2015. Paul returned to Afghanistan in May 2017 as UNOPS’ Director & Representative, a position he held until retiring from the UN at the end of 2021.
Paul is now the founder and CEO of Fillan Rose Ltd, a discreet management consultancy seeking, in both the public and private sectors, to apply lessons learnt over the last 20 years so that more can be done with less, and all can be done better.