Policy Paper

Tribal Jurisdiction and Agreements

Jirga in Khost, March 2008, ©TLO

The Key to Sub-National Governance in Southeastern Afghanistan

January 21, 2011
Khost’s Tribes: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Khost is one of Afghanistan’s Southeastern provinces on the country’s border with Pakistan. Since 2005, the region has been increasingly destabilized by the Haqqani-led insurgency, which over the years has weaved a tight web over the local population and which transits across the province’s porous border with Pakistan with relative ease. Current military operations in the region led by international and Afghan forces, as well as diplomatic pressure on neighboring countries are part of counterinsurgency efforts to stabilize Khost province. However, the conflict between international military forces, the Afghan government and the Haqqani-led insurgency in Khost is putting considerable pressure on local tribal leaders who are often forced to deal with a number of very different stakeholders in order to survive. Tribal leadership is crucial to contributing to stability by bridging the gap between communities and the government, yet these leaders are increasingly caught between the international military, the Afghan government and the insurgency.

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Reconciliation and Reintegration in Loya Paktia

Loya Paktia is very much embedded in tribal traditions and its social organization still regulated by the customary law known as Pashtunwali. Compared to other parts of Afghanistan, the region has long benefited from strong and cohesive tribal structures. Indeed, tribes in this part of the country are traditionally the largest permanent political and social units, where elites (khans, maliks) and notables (spin giri) hold great influence.While the integrity of these institutions has steadily eroded since the jihad against the Soviet occupation, until relatively recently, security at both the district and provincial levels in Loya Paktia were guaranteed by agreements among tribes, and between tribes and the government. The Afghan government still relies in certain  areas on tribes to provide community-based policing (arbakai).

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Afghan voices: We Need Your Presence, Please Do Not Leave

Every year when the western countries’ parliaments debate about the extension or otherwise of their troops’ mission in Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan get concerned and anxious. The worry is that what will happen if these countries too, like Holland and Canada, decide to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, however, the Taliban terrorists strive to execute more suicide attacks, plant more roadside bombs and even conduct massive attacks on soldiers of these countries, in order to forge the public opinion in their home countries in a manner that forces the parliamentarians to accept an exit decision.

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