Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Kochis Challenge Remains Unsolved

A lasting controversial issue that periodically sparked inconveniency, irritation and clashes in Afghan society has been nomads (kochis) rights and responsibilities. No doubt, they are part of Afghan citizen and enjoy similar rights as the rest of Afghan citizens. But these rights and responsibilities do not pass a smooth track when it comes to realization and enforcement of the law because of differences in style of subsistence and living. Afghan nomads are continually in travel and they do not settle in one particular area, the issue which now and then inflames legal, political debates as well as armed confrontation. (And it should be noticed that many times this continual confrontation ended to deaths of tens and forced displacement of thousands.)

During history, governments generally supported or took site with kochis in the case of any quarrel or clashes with civilians, because of communal linkage or communal characteristic of rulers. Such a prejudicial judgment only was able to solve the issue superficially not fundamentally, and people constantly kept criticizing misjudgments. Additionally, since non rulers were elected by people and they did not gain power through democratic channels, they used not care much about what people were telling.

The challenge even got grimmer during Taliban regime. Regions where nomads had ever traveled during decades, perhaps, century were travelling and claiming lands as their pasture. Generally, civilians were keeping quite and dare not to complain fearing of revengeful consequences.

Right after the outstation of Taliban regime and establishment of a fledgling rule of law in the country, unfortunately the issue has still remained unsolved and several times caused violent clashes, particularly in central part of the country. They are crossing border during winter and come back in spring, and face problem over lands they allege as their pastures. Because of the same issue, on Tuesday, July 26, the busy Kabul-Kandahar Highway was blocked for hours by nomads.

They placed rocks on Arghani area of Paghman district of Kabul Province. Seemingly, they were protesting against police who prohibited them to set up camps on a claimed land. Observers had told that many male nomads were armed and closed the highway for hours by force.

This problem has existed since the very establishment of democratic government, but regretfully the government has been unable to solve or rulers did not have the will to solve it. Afghan officials have to notice that nomads issue wouldn't be solved by itself and, unless found a solution, it would continue taking toll from innocent civilians. Further, the solution for this problem should be permanent this time and must not be like the previous ones. The previous incomplete solutions have in fact given rise to the current issues.

Moreover, solution should not include pacifying the protestors by distributing cash, which can further urge the protestors to blackmail the government and the people in this particular way; rather the issue should be comprehended with all its complications and should be addressed likewise.

And if the rights of the Kochis are considered important while solving the issue, at the same instance the rights of the people who are influenced by them must be addressed as well, as they are also the citizens of this country.

Another approach towards the issue is that it is taken as a temporary clash and is believed to be repeated at certain occasions in a year; therefore, the importance given to it remains meager. But it is such clashes that can result into civil wars. Therefore, this issue should better be dealt as per its weightiness.