As anyone who watches the news will know, the situation in Afghanistan is worsening day by day. Over the past Four years CPAU has been working with peace councils across the country to understand the root causes of conflict. In a country torn apart by decades of war where traditional systems are strained and politicians play on tribal divisions, a personal dispute between families can quickly escalate into violent conflicts across whole districts. CPAU’s research offers a step towards constructive solutions. This update focuses on Farza, and shows how CPAU’s understanding of the triggers of conflict has enabled them to act proactively to try to prevent conflict before it arises.
The situation in Farza is unique from the rest of the country. Neighbouring Kabul normally bears the brunt of armed attacks, and the relatively good irrigation in the district means livelihood disputes are less common. The most common source of conflict stems from marriage issues between families, but tension between families can quickly blow up to involve entire villages.
Farza, like the rest of Afghanistan, has suffered from an increase in violence in relation to the recent elections. For the six months preceding the elections CPAU ran a programme of awareness raising and training amongst the local population to resist efforts by politicians to manipulate conflicts for their own gain. CPAU has set up peace councils across the district and trained them in awareness raising so they could support the organisation of the elections in the Farza district. CPAU also ran workshops in peacebuilding for government officials, the police chief and the district chief, to give them the tools to resolve conflict during the election period.
The workshops were an opportunity for spokespeople to raise the issues affecting their communities. As a result the Peace Council have resolved to address the increasing number of family and social conflicts in the area, and to start a literacy course in Madrasa using the Koran to reduce illiteracy and poverty.
Building peace in such a volatile country is not an easy task, but as they develop a thorough understanding of the causes of violence, CPAU is making inroads into conflict resolution.