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Articles

We want to let go of nourishing well-known historically established narratives about the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan by deconstructing ‘regional tales’ and open new windows but re-imagining past, present and future differently. We therefore invite writers from Afghanistan and Pakistan to contribute with texts that are imaginative and reflect and develop own ideas how new forms of relationships could look like in the future. We are looking for short stories, essays, commentaries or poetry.

Open call for applications: Vasl Artists' Collective in collaboration with Heinrich Boell Stiftung.

Residency dates: Thursday, April 6 - Friday, May 12, 2017

Eligibity Criteria: Artists from Afghanistan and Pakistan

Attempting to look beyond established parameters of perception about the other in neighborly relations, we are calling for abstracts for a research on the identification of the conflict of interests between relevant stakeholders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. What are the enhancing, what are the mitigating factors and who are the important actors, when it comes to the prevailing mistrust regarding trans-boundary waters and energy projects between the two countries? Deadline 17th July 2016.

Within the framework of the project “Regional Civil Society Engagement in Green Dialogs. Promoting Peace and Stability through Equitable Resource Management”, the offices of Heinrich Böll Stiftung in Pakistan and Afghanistan successfully conducted a Vision Workshop for a seed group of the Regional Green Dialogs Network. The workshop aimed at increasing mutual understanding and developing a joint vision and a plan for future action. Intellectuals, experts and activits from both countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) participated in the event and reflected on how to promote peace and stability in the region through equitable natural resource management, especially looking into water and energy.

Since its formation in 2014 the National Unity Government of Afghanistan has in different occasions, expressed its commitment to share the benefits of Afghanistan’s geographic centrality through regional cooperation - particularly economic integration - with its neighbors and countries beyond the immediate neighborhood.

This paper highlights that with rising population, natural resources endowed on human kind are degrading and depreciating and would soon become extinct or unusable if not sustainably utilised. Impact of climate change serves as a catalyst to further amplify the process of ecological deterioration with anthropogenic activities.

Today, the 100th year’s of Afghan- German relationship celebrated in Afghanistan. The good relation of Afghan-German goes back to 1916s with the establishment of initial contacts between the governments of the German Reich and the Emirate of Afghanistan.

The Transformation Decade seeks to consolidate the outcomes of Transition and ensure that Afghanistan achieves the goal of being functional and democratic governance with rule of law, women and human rights protection, economically independence, and socially stable.

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Internal displacement has been on the rise in Afghanistan. Though no longer in first place, Afghanistan is also among the top three countries of origin for asylum seekers worldwide (75,273 in 63 countries, with Turkey and Germany being the top two recipient countries).

The relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains fragile. Our project “Regional Civil Society Engagement in Green Dialogs” seeks to shift the discussion from its primer focus on security aspects towards shared interests by managing natural resources equitably.

Western governments look like they are turning their back on Afghanistan after a decade of aid and assistance but this is a dangerous approach, as history shows.

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Kabul women have two main fears when moving through public spaces: suicide bombers and harassment. Although the risks associated with harassment are less severe than those of a suicide attack, the everyday threat of harassment creates considerable anxiety amongst women. As part of the safety audit, women were asked how they would feel when confronted with various situations when walking down the street

In Afghanistan, natural resources and conflict have a intimate and complex relationship. In conflict assessment surveys, access to natural resources have been consistently reported as the cause for more than half of local level conflict incidents in Afghanistan. In particular, access to land and access to water are regularly cited by communities across Afghanistan as two top two causes of conflict.

In July 2011, ISAF officially handed over seven areas to Afghan National Security Forces, beginning a process to gradually transition all security responsibility from international to Afghan leadership. Twenty areas have now been formally transitioned to the Afghan National Security Force, which is, “part of the unfolding plan for all NATO combat troops to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.”

The need for a peace process in Afghanistan is clearer with each passing month. Despite many positive changes, ten years of international involvement has been accompanied by mounting violence and escalation by NATO forces and the Taliban, and victory for either government or insurgents seems unlikely.

For a long time, security along the Gultapa road in Northern Afghanistan made the area difficult to access. Afghan journalist Noor ul Ain from the Dari language daily 8 am recently travelled along this road and found the situation much improved. Yet, in his trip it became evident: What people are still in need for is development – schools, healthcare and governmental services that make it not only a secure place for now but that open prospects to the people in that area.

On Wednesday, June 2, the long-announced Peace Jirga starts in Kabul. 1600 delegates from all over Afghanistan will come together to discuss whether and how peace can be achieved. People are unsure what to expect from a gathering on which even a day before it is happening neither participants nor agenda have been made public. More easy than to know who will be attending the Jirga is to know who will not be there: The armed opposition has not been invited, the political opposition declares its boycott and women have only reluctantly been included.  

The Human Rights Research & Advocacy Consortium (HRRAC) wants the Government of Afghanistan to respect the principles of justice and human rights, which they have sworn to uphold before the Afghan nation, in the discussions and decisions of the National Consultative Peace Jirga and not trample the aforementioned principles.

Experts from Afghanistan, Pakistan and German and international scientists, politicians and journalists outline challenges for the stabilisation process in the region.

Publications

In terms of having water resources, Afghanistan has a considerable advantage in comparison to its neighbors. However, war and other various factors have limited the country’s ability to make use of these resources. Water infrastructure—including dams, water storage tanks, irrigation and water supply networks, hydrometric stations and metrology systems, and sewage and sanitation systems—is limited and inefficient.

In recent years, the role and position of civil society organizations in dealing with local and regional crises are seen considering a new approach that requires finding common grounds, exchange of ideas and cooperation among civil society organizations functional in that specific region. Afghanistan and Pakistan have had complex and at times fragile political and security relations and in the meanwhile the two countries are tied in an unavoidable and undeniable trade and economic interdependency.

Water quantity and quality are deteriorating and the struggle among all common water users is likely to intensify. This may become even more visible in river basins that cross political boundaries of different countries. History reveals that in many situations, this mutual need may bring strategic cooperation rather than open conflict, and lead to peaceful solutions to water disputes. Over the last 67 years, we have witnessed only 37 severe water disputes globally, in comparison to 295 water cooperation treaties (UN Water 2008: 3).

Water resource allocation is a long-ignored issue in Afghanistan. While the water potential of Afghanistan is estimated to be 75billion m3/ year on average, Afghanistan ranks lowest in water storage capacity.

Women in Afghanistan have achieved significant progress in terms of working in public life since the international intervention in 2001. Despite of insecurity, patriarchal attitudes and discriminatory mindsets they have effective presence in parliament, media, government and civil society to contribute in democratization and stability of the country.

Since the fall of the Taliban, Youth have emerged as an important political and economic force in Afghanistan.  They are one of the most important demographic groups, with nearly two-third of the population being under the age of 25 years.

Successful elections and political transition in 2014 are crucial for the future relationship between Afghanistan and the international community. Traditional elites are somewhat ambiguous regarding the elections.

Current military operations in the region led by international and Afghan forces, as well as diplomatic pressure on neighboring countries are part of counterinsurgency efforts to stabilize Khost province.

Foreign, Peace and Security Policies