Ten years after the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghanistan is an environment of escalating conflict and prevailing impunity. In this context, the narrative of the Afghan government and its international partners has increasingly focused on ending the violence through negotiating with insurgent leaders and reintegrating their fighters into Afghan society. In their attempt to secure peace, policymakers have largely failed to include justice as a component of reconciliation and reintegration processes. This has continued the predominant approach since 2001 (and before) with the need for immediate stability outweighing the need for wartime accountability. The fact that the Afghan government and its international partners have failed to implement a comprehensive programme to provide justice or compensation for past and present wartime crimes has inhibited people’s ability to deal with the legacies of conflict. Subsequently, the majority of people participating in AREU’s research said they were struggling to cope emotionally, psychologically and practically, and the desire for some form of “closure” remains strong.
Citation: Winterbotham, Healing the Legacies of Conflict in Afghanistan: Community Voices on Justice, Peace and Reconciliation (Kabul: AREU, 2012)