Afghan nomads seem to have adapted to constant wars and droughts, they suffer in terms of both life and sources. More than 80% of Afghanistan’s land is suitable for cattle grazing. It is an ideal place for seasonal migration. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union invasion and the subsequent years of foreign-imposed wars, drought, and ethnic tensions have dramatically dropped the number of Kuchis, as well as the size of their livestock. The misery of Kuchi people is the result of the continued war, destruction of roads, drought, air raids, civil war, bombing and other war-related causes. These problems were further compounded by the 1998 – 2002 droughts which caused 75% loss of Kuchi livestock.
Although, the presence of international community in Afghanistan and the infusion of billions of dollars in international assistance and investments have improved the economy of Afghan people significantly since 2002 particularly in suburban settled areas of the country which is a positive change but nomads are still deprived of life’s basic needs.
They are leading the life of Stone Age and they don’t have access to health, educational and social facilities by the state. Nevertheless, they are making a big part of the tribal life even though they don’t have any interest in religious fanaticism or being part of Pakistani fundamentalist madrassa system. They like to lead their life independently. They had a strong presence in Afghanistan before the establishment of modern settlement areas of the country as well. Although nomads have been affected from the settled style of life but unfortunately they remained backward from modern life of science and technology.
There are numerous reasons that have made life difficult for these nomad people. The insufficient recovery of pastures, the landmines, and other unexploded ordinances have restricted the areas for grazing. Wars also forced many Kuchis to flee their summer grazing lands in central parts of Afghanistan. When they would return, they would find that locals in the areas had converted much of their pastures to farming lands.
Consequently, some Kuchis have given up their nomadic lifestyle and started living on the outskirts of cities, working as laborers. There is a great need of efforts on the part of the government to bring improvement in the lives of these people and make them familiar with the modern life and knowledge. Their constant deprivation and denationalization eventually create a security problem for the state. Urgent action is required to make them part of the modern democratic state of Afghanistan.
The experts suggest that there should be proper residential areas in different parts of Afghanistan for these Kochi people where they could settle and enjoy the modern facilities of education, health and other amenities of social life including entertainment and sports as well.
The Afghan Tribune | Editorial | Published: April 21, 2016, 02:32 AM