A volatile interaction between peacebuilding priorities: road infrastructure (re)construction and land rights in Afghanistan.
The current approach to peacebuilding is to focus on the specific building blocks of the process. However, such attention and building blocks are to date largely isolated from each other in their planning, analysis, implementation and measures for success with regard to contributing to overall peace. While two of these, land rights and road infrastructure, are regarded separately as crucial to post-war recovery, their interaction has not yet been examined. This article looks at these two priorities for Afghanistan, and finds in their interaction a large and acute problem of land seizures which the government and the international community in-country are unable to manage. This land grabbing is a direct result of a context of pervasive corruption, ongoing conflict, a mistaken understanding of the nature of the benefits of road reconstruction, large-scale dislocation and widespread use of explosive devices. Such a pervasive problem sets back recovery, detracts from durable peace and fuels the insurgency.