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Taliban Violence Creating Social Revolution Among Pashtuns

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Fifty-three-year-old Abdul Ahad Helmandwal is
accustomed to being the go-to guy in one of southern Afghanistan's most
violent areas.

From his mud compound in Helmand Province's Nad-e
Ali district, the turbaned ethnic Pashtun has for years looked after an
extended family whose 110 members -- particularly the young -- were
expected to obey him without question.

It had been that way since
the day his father was killed by a Soviet Army mine 25 years ago,
leaving Helmandwal to step into his shoes. Helmandwal's "mashartoob,"
the Pashto word for leadership, in his community was unchallenged.

It is evident that things have changed.

Whereas
Helmandwal's ancestors built legitimacy by regularly holding jirgas, or
local councils, to peacefully resolve local disputes, he is finding
that consensus no longer garners respect even among his own Noorzai
clan.

Elders Losing Control

Instead,
Helmandwal finds himself in a competition for influence against a foe

To read the full story

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Taliban Violence Creating Social Revolution Among Pashtuns

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