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This project will consider how negotiations and initiatives to advance national reconciliation in Afghanistan have shaped the political settlement. Afghanistan’s political settlement today reflects contrasting priorities and perspectives of different types of actors, including customary institutions, recently established civil society organisations, the Afghan state, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), international aid agencies, and insurgent and criminal networks. It has a large rural population, with traditional forms of governance, a new elite of self-appointed warlords and local militias. These new power brokers have eroded the authority of jirgas to administer disputes. Afghanistan has also seen shifting international responses over time, as to which elites should be bargained with (the process in the early 1990s focused on the Taliban while the recent process excluded them). It has also been a major site of military, foreign policy and aid intervention for the UK, among other countries.


Project research methodology will be active and participatory to assess different elements of Afghanistan’s political settlement and its relationship with negotiation processes. Research will proceed by identifying options to work with local organizations in order to build mutual capacity. Research will follow a similar model to the Nepal study, namely: a joint analysis stakeholder workshop; first hand documentation of at least 20 selected case studies of initiatives to support transition in Afghanistan; development of applied participatory learning to include a joint stakeholder policy learning workshop using Conciliation Resources ‘Accord’ methodology.


The project is important to understanding how international and external actors in practice attempt transformation. Afghanistan is an important case study to understanding the relationship between international conflict, internal conflict, and legal regimes and division which shaped post-conflict interventions; how a range of multi-departmental military, development and foreign policy responses interact to affect political settlements; and because gender equality has been both used as a justification for military intervention, and a key international focus for reconstruction.


Jonathan Cohen, Zahbia Yousuf, and Alexander Ramsbottom (Conciliation Resources)


Larson, A. (2017). Processing peace in Afghanistan (PSRP Report). London: Conciliation Resources.

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Photo: Kate Brooks ©iStock.com, Martina Bacigalupo/Vu and Fardin Waezi/UNAMA – ©Creative Commons

Details :
  • Author : Harriet Cornell
  • Category : Afghanistan, Case Studies, Conflict
  • Date : July 16, 2015
  • Tags : Afghanistan Intervention Norms