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    District governor settles 51-year dispute



    Story by Staff Sgt. Joshua Brandenburg 

    1-2 SBCT, 7th Infantry Division

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE LAGMAN, Afghanistan – Muhammad Zarif, the governor of Mizan district, Afghanistan, solved a tribal dispute Jan. 14, which has plagued the region for more than 50 years.

    The tribal dispute started when a common family member died of natural causes, and the two parties involved could not agree over the division of the deceased family member’s farmland.

    The feud would escalate and cool down over the decades, with both sides committing crimes against each other. Crimes that included property damage and murder were the key motivators in both families wanting a civil resolution.

    “[Both families] went to the Taliban to try to resolve it, but the Taliban was not effectively able to get the parties together and make an agreement,” said Pete Turner, research manager for the human terrain team in Zabul province, Afghanistan.

    Where the Taliban failed, the local representative of the Afghan government succeeded. Zarif has worked to increase the government’s influence in the district during the past six months. He was able to bring the right people from Qalat, Kandahar and surrounding areas to have the families sit down and resolve the dispute.

    Zarif said that since this dispute was such a big issue for the district, Mohammad Naseri, the provincial governor of Zabul, instructed him to call in prominent ulamas so they could solve the dispute.

    Ulama is a body of Muslim scholars that specialize in sacred Islamic law and theology. Once Zarif had assembled the ulamas and tribal elders in the village of Shrang, he convened the assembly, also known as a jirga.

    The jirga took several days of long intense negotiations, with Zarif being able to keep both families involved until they reached a settlement.

    “It was [Zarif's] great efforts and personal interest that helped us succeed where we failed in the past,” said Shrang, an elder for whom the village is named. “The district governor brought us together with the ulamas, here in our own village, so we could resolve our conflict. We are very happy.”

    Zarif ended the jirga in his office at the Mizan District Center where they resolved the dispute and distributed documents to the parties involved. The jirga resulted in an agreement that was acceptable to all sides involved in the dispute.

    “This is Islamic Sharia, and they have equal rights to go and get justice from different parties, but when the two sides come together on a decision and put down their thumb print, they are bound to that decision,” said Zarif.

    The Afghan people and the local government initiated, conducted and resolved the dispute demonstrating the benefit and impact that the Afghan government offers to the people of Afghanistan. The resolution of this dispute brings more stability to Shrang Village and Mizan district.



    Date Taken: 01.14.2012
    Date Posted: 01.28.2012 04:39
    Story ID: 82974

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