Afghanistan Research Newsletter. Number 29, April/May 2011

Originally published


Research Miniprofile: Legacies of Conflict

by Shukria, AREU justice researcher

At the beginning of 2010, AREU began a research project entitled "Legacies of Conflict in Afghanistan: Justice, Reconciliation and Ways Forward." Afghanistan continues to suffer the physical and emotional scars of over three decades of conflict, yet at no stage has there been any accountability for past crimes. In this context, AREU's project attempts to contribute to debate by developing qualitative, in-depth knowledge about the legacies of conflict, exploring perceptions and desires among Afghans in local communities regarding justice, peace and reconciliation. In doing so it aims to create space for previously unexplored ideas, taking into account the role an Islamic framework and existing community-based justice mechanisms may play. Ultimately, it aims to generate a discussion that will help policymakers and communities engage with each other to find the most appropriate ways forward on issues of reconciliation and accountability.

The key research themes are:

• The legacy of conflict: to explore what has happened during different regimes over the past 30 years.

• Justice: what does justice for human rights violations and crimes committed in war mean to people, and what do they hope justice can do for them.

• Ways forward: how can Afghanistan achieve peace and reconciliation and move forward? How can different demands for justice and recompense be reconciled with demands for peace and reconciliation?

AREU conducted the research in Kabul, Bamiyan and Ghazni Provinces (the latter substituting for Kandahar owing to security concerns). Research in Ghazni was conducted by the Organization for Sustainable Development and Research (OSDR), a partner organisation. The OSDR team was trained by AREU research teams before beginning work. Fieldwork in all three provinces is now complete and data analysis is ongoing. The first case study using Kabul data will be published in early 2011, with Ghazni and Bamiyan to follow.

"The State of Transitional Justice in Afghanistan: Actors, Approaches and Challenges," was published in April 2010 and provides an introduction to the project.