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Afghanistan’s fragile future shows the paradoxical nature of peacebuilding

After almost 50 years of violent conflict, is Afghanistan heading for a sustainable peace?

By Gabrielle Rifkind  

Afghan men sell heart-shaped balloons on Valentine's Day in Kabul. Photo: PA

Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. In recent days, a fragile framework has been arrived at that seeks to end almost 50 years of violent conflict. Most Afghans are tired of war and yearn for peace—but caution needs to be exercised. Any hastily ushered-in agreement could once again leave the country in chaos and repeat the mistakes of the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

50 per cent of peace deals breakdown, often when small elite groups make…

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