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  • Author: Moeed Yusuf, Scott Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Shortly after entering office at the end of 2014, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani embarked on a bold but controversial policy of sustained conciliation toward Pakistan, with the goal of securing greater cooperation in securing a comprehensive peace with the Afghan Taliban and integrating Afghanistan into the regional economies. Pakistan's tepid response to date, however, has left Ghani politically vulnerable, with his opponents attacking his outreach effort. Time is of the essence. Without meaningful actions soon from Pakistan and robust support from the international community, especially China, the initiative is likely to collapse, with devastating results for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the broader region
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Power Sharing, Taliban
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Rashid Aziz, Munawar Baseer Ahmad
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan’s energy shortages disrupt daily life in the country, and protests and demonstrations against the shortages often turn violent, creating a risk that Pakistan’s energy crisis could threaten peace and stability. Incorporating official and donor perspectives, this report examines the factors in Pakistan’s energy crisis and what can be done to address it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia
  • Author: Michael Semple
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Afghan Taliban Movement has publicly rejected the legitimacy of the April 2014 elections. The Taliban's military leadership has issued instructions to officials and commanders to disrupt the elections but has left field commanders with wide discretion on how to go about doing so. Many in the Taliban follow the electoral contest closely and comment on developments in terms very similar to how they are described by the political and educated class in Kabul. However, the anti-election sentiment in the Taliban leaves no scope for any faction to cooperate with the process. The Taliban will likely be able to intensify violence approaching the election, but not sufficiently to derail the overall process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: William Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's history provides important insights and lessons for the 2011 to 2014 transition and beyond, but differences with the past must be taken into account. As the 1933 to 1973 decades demonstrate, the country can be stable and effectively governed, but that stability was anchored in the two pillars of traditional local governance and a centralized though weak state, both of which were gravely damaged after 1978. Given the country's history of chronic succession problems and associated conflict, the next presidential election, if successful, would be the first peaceful transfer of leadership since 1933 and only the fourth since 1747. Expectations about the pace of progress must be modest and the dangers of overly ambitious reforms leading to violent reactions recognized. Regional countries could derail peace prospects, and planning around such spoilers may be needed. The difficulties of reaching a peaceful solution during a military withdrawal, and the adverse consequences when such efforts fail, were demonstrated during the period from 1986 to 1992. The period after the Soviet withdrawal shows the potential and limitations of Afghan security forces: holding onto Kabul and other cities is probably the most that can be hoped for in the current transition. The option of arming and paying militias is dangerous because it opens the door to instability and predatory behavior. The Afghan economy is in much better shape than it was during and after the Soviet period, and a deep economic contraction in coming years needs to be avoided. Afghanistan will depend heavily on outside financial support for many years, and such support must not be abruptly cut back or stopped. Effective national leadership is critical during transitions. It is important not to overlearn from history, for example, Afghanistan's problematic experience over the past half-century with political parties, which are essential to successful democratic systems.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Islam, War, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: William Byrd
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At the Tokyo conference on July 8, donors committed to provide massive civilian aid to Afghanistan and improve aid effectiveness, while the Afghan government committed to a number of governance and political benchmarks. The outcome at Tokyo exceeded expectations, but a review of Afghan and international experience suggests that implementing the Tokyo mutual accountability framework will be a major challenge. The multiplicity of donors could weaken coherence around targets and enforcing benchmarks, and undermine the accountability of the international community for overall funding levels. Uncertain political and security prospects raise doubts about the government's ability to meet its commitments, and political will for needed reforms understandably may decline as security transition proceeds and the next election cycle approaches. It is doubtful whether major political issues can be handled through an articulated mutual accountability framework with benchmarks and associated financial incentives. The civilian aid figure agreed upon at Tokyo ($16 billion over four years) is ambitious and exceeded expectations; if the international community falls short, this could be used to justify the Afghan government failing to achieve its benchmarks. Finally, given past experience there are doubts about how well the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) process (mandated to oversee implementation), and the series of further high-level meetings agreed at Tokyo, will work.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Economics, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Sylvana Q. Sinha
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: At least 80% of all disputes in Afghanistan are resolved through traditional dispute resolution (TDR) mechanisms, principally community councils called shuras or jirgas. TDR is therefore impossible to ignore as the primary justice institution in the country. Still, most women's groups in Afghanistan tend to oppose international donor or Afghan government support for TDR because they generally exclude women from participation and are known to issue decisions that violate women's rights. In the spring of 2011, the U.S. Institute of Peace in Kabul hosted meetings to examine the broader question of how women can gain greater access to justice. The outcome of the conversations was a more nuanced view of TDR and women in Afghanistan and a recognition that creative engagement rather than condemnation is a more productive approach to resolving deficiencies in women's rights in TDR venues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Law
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Asia
  • Author: John Dempsey, Noah Coburn
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Stability in Afghanistan will remain elusive unless disputes between individuals and among communities can be resolved through peaceful and equitable means. However, state justice institutions are barely functioning in much of the country and are incapable of meeting many justice and dispute resolution needs of Afghans. Instead, the majority of Afghans turn to traditional justice mechanisms—including tribal councils and village and religious leaders—to address both civil and criminal disputes. In many parts of the country, including areas recently cleared of insurgents, the best way to make signi_cant, visible, short-term (12 to 18 months) gains in peacefully resolving disputes is to work with community-based structures. USIP has drawn important lessons from its work with Afghan partners to implement pilot programs exploring links between the state and traditional justice systems in four provinces across the country (in Nangarhar, Khost, Paktia and Herat). Programs designed to create or strengthen existing links between traditional justice bodies and state institutions can build mutual trust and harness the strengths of each. Donor-funded traditional justice programs need to involve the Afghan government while also accounting for the practical needs of communities to settle disputes in line with their own traditions and procedures, as well as Afghanistan's laws and human rights norms.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Raymond Gilpin, Catherine Morris, Go Funai
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Building peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) troubled regions requires sustained intervention by a wide range of stakeholders to address aspects of the regional political economy that perpetrate cross-border abuse of the country's abundant resources. Violent competition for control of mineral resources, particularly in northeastern DRC, has involved regular forces as well as militia from the subregion and contributed to a flourishing war economy, many years after the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in 1999.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Asia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: P. R. Chari, Hasan Askari Rizvi
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Neither India nor Pakistan has been able to impose its preferred solution on the long-standing Kashmir conflict, and both sides have gradually shown more flexibility in their traditional positions on Kashmir, without officially abandoning them. This development has encouraged the consideration of new, creative approaches to the management of the conflict. The approach holding the most promise is a pragmatic one that would “make borders irrelevant”—softening borders to allow movement of people, goods, and services—instead of redefining or removing them. The governments of India and Pakistan have both repeatedly endorsed the concept, but steps to implement it have been limited. Myriad suggestions for putting this new mantra into practice have been made, from establishing more bus services to increasing trade and tourism across the Line of Control (LOC). While some of these suggestions still await official consideration, others are being examined, and some have already been implemented. Liberalization of the travel regime would be a major step toward enabling the two parts of Kashmir to develop a multifaceted and normal relationship. Such liberalization requires overcoming a mixture of political, bureaucratic, and regulatory challenges. A survey of opinion on both sides of the LOC reveals that the public mood in both countries favors peace, stability, and a softening of the LOC. The international climate is also propitious for confidence-building measures. It remains to be seen, however, if New Delhi and Islamabad can muster the political will necessary to overcome the resistance of key stakeholders within both countries' bureaucracies and militaries.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, India, Asia, Kashmir, New Delhi
  • Author: Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is at a crucial stage of transition. The Taliban, with sanctuaries and a support base in the tribal areas, has grown stronger, relying on a wide network of foreign fighters and Pakistani extremists who operate freely across the Afghan- Pakistani border. Present trends raise serious doubts about whether military solutions alone can defeat the insurgency and stem the expansion of terrorism. In short, reconciliation must also be a key element of comprehensive stabilization in Afghanistan. A multitude of factors suggest that the time is ripe for a reconciliatory process. The Taliban and the Hekmatyar Group will be key challenges to any reconciliation process as long as they enjoy sanctuaries and support outside of Afghanistan. An examination of past attempts at reconciliation with the Taliban reveals that the process has lacked consistency. The Afghan government and its international partners have offered conflicting messages, and there has been no consensual policy framework through which to pursue reconciliation in a cohesive manner. The goal of reconciliation in Afghanistan must be to achieve peace and long-term stability under the Afghan Constitution with full respect for the rule of law, social justice, and human rights. To successfully meet this goal, Afghanistan's reconciliation program must be carefully targeted and guided by a clear set of principles. A comprehensive and coordinated political reconciliation process must be started. At the same time, significant progress must be made on the security front and on the international (regional) front. Without security and stability or cooperation from Afghanistan's neighbors, reconciliation will not occur.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Asia, Taliban