Land Rights and Relations
“Land tenure has a significant influence on the agricultural sector, which in turn will be the cornerstone of rural development for the forseeable future.”
AREU’s work on land relations consists of a 2003-04 study on rural land conflict and a separate study examining the Afghan government’s capacity to resolve land disputes, which was completed in 2009.
Land and home ownership form critical platforms for individual and communal survival in Afghanistan. However, factors such as population growth and land-grabs by economic elites coupled with pre-existing tensions are currently driving an increasing level of land-use disputes in the country. These are compounded by legislation that often fails to fully reflect existing mechanisms of land ownership and access. The lack of legal distinction between community-owned and state land has left room for ethnically-linked and occasionally violent disputes between pastoralists and farmers—many of which date back to the late-19th century—to fester. In the light of research evidence, it is critical for the government to develop a greater understanding of the causes of such disputes, along with a more nuanced and flexible set of both central- and community-based mechanisms for dealing with disputes in a context-appropriate manner.