The Cost of War: Afghan experiences of conflict, 1978-2009 | Taliban

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The past three decades of war and disorder have had a devastating impact on the Afghan people. Millions have been killed, millions more have been forced to flee their homes and the country's infrastructure and forests have all but been destroyed. The social fabric of the country is fractured and state institutions are fragile and weak. Much has been written about the wars in Afghanistan and the basic narrative of the conflict, in one form or another, has been repeated in countless books, academic articles and news reports. But the voices of ordinary Afghans are often absent from these accounts, and yet it is the Afghan people who are most affected by the violence. To better understand how Afghans have experienced and understand the conflict, eight nongovernmental organizations operating in Afghanistan conducted research in 14 provinces across the country. This research focused on individual experiences of the past thirty years of conflict, perceptions of the current conflict and recommendations for alleviating the violence and addressing its root causes. This research does not aim to provide a full accounting of the fighting or to represent the views and experiences of all Afghans. Rather, it seeks to more fully articulate Afghan experiences of the conflict and its recommendations seek to convey the aspirations that Afghans have for peace and the future of their country.
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   THE COST OF WARAfghan Experiences of Conflict, 1978 – 2009 Table of Contents  Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................ 1Map ................................................................................................................................ 2 Executive Summary ........................................................................................................... 3Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 6Historical Context .............................................................................................................. 7Experiences of Conflict ..................................................................................................... 16 Recommendations ........................................................................................................... 26 Annex A: Methodology and Respondent Profile .................................................................. 34 Annex B: Summary of Key Findings .................................................................................. 37Bibliography..... ................................................................................................................. 47Endnotes ........................................................................................................................ 51   1 THE COST OF WARAfghan Experiences of Conflict, 1978 – 2009 Acknowledgements This research was jointly designed and/or carried out by the following organizations: Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF), Afghan Peace and Democracy Act (APDA), Association for the Defence of Women’s Rights (ADWR), Cooperation Centre for Afghanistan (CCA), Education Training Center for Poor Women and Girls of Afghanistan (ECW), Oxfam GB, Organization for Human Welfare (OHW), Sanayee Development Organization (SDO) and The Liaison Office (TLO). The report was written by Ashley Jackson of Oxfam International 1 . This report was very much the product of a collaborative effort. In particular, the author would like to highlight the contributions made by the following people:  Aliase Hassany provided invaluable research support and assistance throughout this process. Matt Waldman, who srcinally led the research design, provided support and guidance throughout the process. Wayne Diamond provided valuable support and insight in the research design and analysis, as well as Martin Walsh who provided technical advice on the presentation of the methodology and other technical aspects. Naysan Adlparvar, Paul Fishstein, Nikolaus Grubeck, Susanne Schmeidl and others provided valuable comments on early drafts of this report.  Above all, the author would like to thank the men and women across Afghanistan who generously shared with us their experiences and views of the conflict as well as their ideas of what can be done to alleviate the violence. Cover photo: David GillInterior photos: Travis Beard, Gulbuddin Elham, David Gill, Ashley JacksonNovember 2009   2  THE COST OF WARAfghan Experiences of Conflict, 1978 – 2009 Map Credit: UN Cartographic Center 
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