Incremental Peace in Afghanistan
Publication date: 
Accord issue: 

Who is best placed to provide justice effectively and equitably to the breadth of Afghan society?
State and non-state justice providers are both part of the problem and potentially part of the solution. Despite significant strides being made in Afghanistan’s formal justice system, it still struggles to deliver an accessible and inclusive service. Widespread corruption and neglect especially in rural areas are among the most serious contemporary challenges.
Informal institutions are the primary justice provider for many communities, resolving disputes through jirgas, shuras and ulema where the formal sector is absent, exclusive or mistrusted. But traditional bodies also bring challenges, from poor record-keeping to gender exclusion, human rights violations and illicit practices. Taliban justice is also a significant feature of the informal sphere.
A hybrid system that draws on formal and informal institutions can offer a way forward, linked by new institutions that prioritise human and women’s rights. A sophisticated hybrid model has previously been developed but has experienced resistance from existing justice institutions. More recently there has been renewed interest in it from the Ministry of Justice and elsewhere.