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Nomad Sedentarisation One of the Growing Sources of Conflict in Afghanistan: AREU Study Finds

14 Nov 2019 Wadsam Afghanistan Business News

According to a research paper titled “Nomad Settler Conflict in Afghanistan Today”, nomad sedentarisation has been of growing importance as a source of conflict. And, the nature and character of the conflict have changed considerably since the last few analyses were published around 2007-2010.

Published by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, this paper presents a preliminary mapping of nomad-settler conflict that has evolved between  2016-2019 in Afghanistan. 

According to the figures provided by the Nomad Directorates, no more than 220,000 semi-nomads are believed to be leftactive, with the rest of the nomad population having settled for good. 

The study states that there are several drivers behind the nomad-settler conflict in the country. “The emergence of powerbrokers as a feature of Afghanistan’s political and social life of the last 20-30 years, has an impact on nomad-settler conflict too,” the study says and adds that powerbrokers are reported to be encouraging nomads and settlers to grab land, who then powerbrokers proceed to ‘regularise’ with the central government, in exchange for financial benefits and political support. Moreover, nomad sedentarisation results in pastures being grabbed for building houses, generating jealousy among surrounding settlers and irritating those nomads who are still taking their animals around Afghanistan, in search for pasture. 

The study analyzes the governmental monitoring over this situation and adds that government weakness in rural areas has meant that the authorities have lost most of the ability to manage structural friction between nomads and settlers, compared to before the war. It also reduced the ability of the authorities to intervene in the conflicts, once these flare-up. The legal opacity surrounding Pastures Law certainly generated much friction between nomads and settlers over village pastures and public pastures.

The paper recommends that the government should confront the issue of what to do with the pastures, replacing the old royal decrees that gave a large portion of pastures to specific nomad communities for indefinite periods with more up-to-date solutions.

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