Peoples and Ethnic Groups –
Kinship and Tribal Societies: CONFLICT; Tribes vs. Government

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Pashtun MenIn Afghanistan this conflict of moralities can be seen in their government’s attempts to do away with the tribal laws or codes that are counter to the constitution. At issue is the central government’s desire to limit autonomous tribal rule in favor of laws that govern all the peoples of the land equally. The government sees tribal codes as a way for tribal leaders to maintain independent rule that could threaten the stability of the country and limit rights guaranteed under the constitution.  

The conflict between the new government of Afghanistan and the tribes is most evident with the Pashtun tribes and their Pashtunwali code.  The threat to Pashtun autonomy has often been linked to Afghan governmental policies on women’s rights, de-veiling, and compulsory education. Of the many points of contention with Pashtunwali are the practices of handing over women as compensation in blood feuds, honor killings of women, and keeping women from educational and health resources.[6] Attempts to “modernize” Afghanistan and give women more rights dates back to the Durrani dynasty and even then met with resistance from the rural Pashtun tribes even though Durrani was a Pashtun himself.

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