This paper summarises the findings of a short exercise to identify land issues in present-day Afghanistan. This review addresses the way in which rights in land are distributed, secured, transacted and governed and the problems that surround these processes.Findings include:stark inequities in land ownership, ethnic conflict over land access, and mismanaged land reform efforts by the state have all played a role in generating and sustaining conflict, including Soviet occupation, over the last 25 yearsconflict has seriously disturbed land relations, de-securing farm and pasture rights in some areas, jeopardising the ability of administrators or courts to manage or uphold rights fairly, and threatening confidence in the capacity of the constitution or other state law to protect existing land rightslandlessness and indebtedness are likely to involve a greater proportion of farmers than 25 years ago. Population growth and land shortage, opium poppy production, ethnic tension, insecurity, and more recently, drought, remain potent drivers to land grabbing, landlessness and destitutionpasture land is a principle source of conflict. Competition over this valuable resource engenders conflict among settled and nomadic land users and ethnic and territorial concerns. It also brings to light conceptual differences about if, how, and in what situations, people may own land in common and have those rights upheld as private property. It also highlights the conflicting positions as to rightful reach of government land and government powers over propertya plural legal basis to land rights exists, in the form of customary, religious and state law, and with a great deal of overlap, some inconsistency and much uncertainty as to norms in each body of law. Landowners variously use custom, Shariat or evidence from the land register to demonstrate their rights. The documentation of transactions is widely practised in all three regimesinternational attention to tenure problems has so far been ad hocRecommendations include:establish order in land relations to help end civil strifeinform policy and law through practical lessons of localised progressfocus on the Land Claims Court as a first venue for developing clear policies, law and procedureadopt a reconciliation approach to restoring order to land relationspilot district or community-based land administration in stable areasminimise land loss by improving the operations and impact of land mortgaging and sharecropping on land securitysupport the ATA's efforts to restore land tenure stability with international assistanceestablish an institutional focal point for taking action and responsibilitysupport ATA decision making with accurate information and analysis to inform decisions is also pressing
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