“I won’t return until I’ve found you a District Prosecutor”. Major Mark Jimison’s promise had fallen on somewhat sceptical ears as he departed in late May. The Rule of Law team charged with supporting our efforts to rebuild a broken justice system had been frustrated by two earlier attempts – in both cases the appointed officials refused point blank when they realised it was Musa Qal’eh they were being sent to.

Four months of relentless lobbying later, Mark called with the news that yet another official had been found, and had even agreed to a flying visit to judge for himself just how unsavoury a location it might be.

As the wiry man with a long wispy beard stepped from the roaring helicopter two days later, the significance of the occasion dawned upon us.

If he followed in the footsteps of his predecessors never to return, then our efforts to find a prosecutor would stall, perhaps never to recover, In an instant, this golden opportunity to restore a legitimate system of justice would be swept away, and with it our aspirations of providing the people of Musa Qal’eh a viable alternative to the brutal punishment meted out by the Taliban.

His job would be daunting – to provide a vital link in a complex chain that began with an arrest and which led to the prosecution and imprisonment of criminals half a desert away in the provincial capital. It was not for the faint-hearted – the prosecutor of a neighbouring district had locked horns with several unpleasant characters, and been told in no uncertain terms not to return from his leave.

Following a typically indulgent Afghan meal on the final night of his visit, the delicate negotiations began – reassuring the still unconvinced prosecutor of his safety, of the support he would receive, and the contribution he could make. He paused to digest this information, reflectively stroking his beard. We stopped our conversations and waited in silence.

And to our collective astonishment, he told us that he did not need to return to the provincial capital. He would instead remain here, with us, to work alongside the Governor on the long journey ahead of bringing justice for the people of Musa Qal’eh. We had found our prosecutor.