21
Sep
2009

international

Afghanistan conflict assessment

Conflict Assessment Afghanistan
Study published by the American Friends Service Committee (February 2009)
from: Corinna Vigier


At this point it is difficult to assess how the situation in Afghanistan and the region will develop in 2009 and beyond. It has been only a short time since the new US president Barak Obama has officially commenced his work. The presidential elections for Afghanistan are scheduled for August 2009, although the deteriorating security situation raises doubts as to whether elections can take place in all parts of the country. Given Russia’s offer to Afghanistan for cooperation on defense, the relationship between Pakistan and India, and Pakistan’s own challenges in dealing with Islamic extremists and insurgents in the North-West Frontier Provinces, there are many elements currently in motion.
The long list of conflicts, root causes and escalating factors in Afghanistan show the complexity of the situation. While considering negotiations with “the Taliban” may be a significant step toward reducing the current amount of violence, other conflict potentials need to be addressed in the process as well. There will not be “one solution” that will solve everything, everywhere. The very same approach can lead to rather good results in one area and to catastrophe in another. Fortunately, there are many different ways to improve the situation a little and avoid relying on any one approach which may not be applicable or “ripe” at the moment (i.e., because a certain conflicting party is not willing to negotiate at the current time). The challenge is, however, to coordinate these different possibilities, so that people working in different areas are aware of what is going on elsewhere and ideally what experiences others have had in similar situations.
As tempting as the thought may be, peace can never be “imported”. Afghan ownership of the process is crucial. Yet the challenge remains, that a number of influential Afghan and international actors have incentives to maintain the current conflict situation rather than to see its resolution. These actors, however, are neither the majority nor are they homogenous. Allies for peacebuilding and conflict transformation can be found at each level, in each area and in each group. It may take some looking, some capacity building, some coordination and some time to find them– but they are there.

The full conflict assessment you can download here: http://www.afsc.org/middleeast/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/81966

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