What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The intrastate spillover from Uruzgan: Update

MStFB Uruzgan Series update
With my Uruzgan Series I never aim to cover every single piece of news that comes out from some corner of the media. The Uruzgan Weblog is an excellent site for that sort of purpose, and it's a greatly useful tool for me. So it's rather unusual when in a few instances I can point to something faster than UW, but this is what seems to have happened now.
I wondered two days ago where refugees (IDPs) from Uruzgan, currently arriving in Kandahar, might be coming from, from within Uruzgan. I named Deh Rawod district as a prime suspect, given the recently intensifying fighting there, while I noted that other districts are not to be excluded from the list of potential sources, either. Now I certainly don't have anything like an exact breakdown of who comes from where, but at least one journalist, Ali Yawar Wadili, has addressed that issue by now, and had this to report (via Outlook Afghanistan):
"More than one and half hundred families from Uruzgan Khas district have left their houses due to pressure and attacks by armed groups linked with the Taliban.
After attacks by armed persons carried out in Sangwaza village of Uruzgan Khas district, which resulted in killing five assailants and five noncombatants including a woman, the Taliban increased and scaled up their attacks on the village from two different positions.
The local people asked the district administration and security police for help but in vain and no one sent out to help them and the local people were not able to defend themselves and thus abandoned the area."
Ali then goes on to talk about how Hazaras displaced in various places do not receive sufficient assistance, from which one may deduct that some of the current Uruzgan refugees might be Hazaras (otherwise why would Ali start talking about this at that point in the article?). Hazaras are of course the minority within the borders of Uruzgan in its new form (since in 2004 it was separated from areas to the north that now make up the province of Dai Kundi; from which Gizab district was, in a minor revision of the original decision*, attached back to Uruzgan in May, 2006). In Khas Uruzgan, Hazaras make up 25% of the local population, and beside the basic fact that they are a minority (which tends not to be that much fun in places like Uruzgan), and beside the fighting going on, another grievance of theirs is that it is rather hard for them to stay in touch with the Hazara community in and around Quetta in Pakistan, since their travel is, well, discouraged by certain factors (hostile, bearded men with guns) along the road to Kandahar. So with all that taken into account it does seem like a question worth to ask when they can safely return to their homes, and, moreover, that of when they can do so in a situation in which they no longer have to live with any of the above mentioned grievances (which should include the freedom of movement there and back between their homes and the Pakistani Hazara neighbourhoods).
* A revision based probably on partly ethnic grounds (Hazaras are a minority in Gizab, while they are the majority in Dai Kundi), as well as due to the fact that the district can be accessed easier from the south (because of the high, mountainous terrain).
Upping the update: Since this is an update I should probably mention that the reinforcements needed in Deh Rawod district that I mentioned in the previous post which is updated here will of course be provided by the Netherlands (no one stepped in to assist them, which was to be expected, but which is also really too bad).
Update (October 1): this article might show that Deh Rawod is still very much the "prime suspect," even while it is anything but the only source of IDP's within Uruzgan.

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