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An Inter-Ethnic Conflict in the Cultural Environment of the Baloch National Movement in Present-day Afghanistan

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This article focuses on strategies of inter-ethnic conflict resolution in southwest Afghanistan under the circumstances of social changes in a tribal society. Field research was carried on in September and October 2008 in Kabul and Zaranj, the province centre of Nimruz. During ethnographic fieldwork focusing on transnational identities of the Baloch people in the Afghan-Iranian border region, I observed an informal inter-ethnic trial. The location of this trial was the town of Zaranj, the administrative centre of the south-western Afghan province of Nimruz. This province, beside Pashtun and Tajik populations, has a compact Baloch settlement area bordering the Baloch areas in Iran and Pakistan. The trial took place between my host, the chief of a Baloch cultural centre, and an Uzbek defendant. As my host was a representative of an emerging Baloch self-confidence since the decline of the Taliban regime, the trial has to be analysed in the broader socio-cultural context of the Baloch people in present-day Afghanistan.

The paper first presents the sequence of events during the trial; then it deals with the social context considering some new developments in the self-conceptions of the Baloches in Afghanistan. Finally, the trial is analysed in the framework of this context.

Affiliations: 1: Humboldt University, Berlin


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