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Counter-Terrorism and the Use of Force in International Law Michael N. Schmitt

This paper is a debate and analysis of legality of US led counter-terrorism operation against Taliban in terms of general principles of international law. The paper very much upholds the right of US as a victim of terrorist attack to resort to force as part of their national policy. It only examines the extent of degree of force applied, span of attack and ultimately against whom the force is targeted. The international law evolved mainly on the basis of war and peace and inter relation of states have to be examined and studied in context of this newly evolved terrorist organizations and the right of self defense of the states against this terrorist attacks. This paper also examines the extent of liability of states that sponsors terrorism like the Taliban as their territory was used by Al Qaeda. As this terrorist organization operating from different countries makes it necessary to view it as threat to international peace.

The legitimacy of this counter terrorist operation was supported by majority of the world nations and various Security Councilís resolutions, condemning Al Qaeda and terrorism as a great threat to international peace. Earlier Libya and Sudan were warned by the security councils for allowing terrorist organization to operate from their territories by imposing various sanctions on them. In the case of Afghanistan there was no legitimate government, so no such mandate was given. The victim state invoked Article 51 of the UN charter and resorted to armed attack. This article emphasize that International law allows self defense and not empower the victim state to punish or retribution. The damaged caused in Afghanistan has exceeded far above than the actual damage caused to the victim state. But in counter terrorism the opponent is lawless making it necessary to deviate from traditional international law. 

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