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November 27, 2012 |  Print  Your Research  

Reza   Kateb

Topic MA Thesis: Networked Politics at the High Peace Council of Afghanistan

Reza Kateb: This MSc dissertation at the Public Policy School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol examined the effects of networked politics at the High Peace Council (HPC) of Afghanistan by evaluating the related policies and experiences of political elites who were involved in the political and policy process of this institution.

The study seeks to examine networked politics and the policy process at the High Peace Council (HPC) of Afghanistan. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain understanding of the experiences and perceptions of being in networked politics. The aim of the dissertation is to address the question: What network of contact the HPC of Afghanistan is using to strike a peace deal with the Taliban and other armed groups? Through supporting literature this study examined the networked politics and policy network relations in post conflict society. The study found that HPC publicises the government's objectives for gaining public support. Within the umbrella of HPC, the study indentified four categories of negotiation networks dealing with the armed oppositions: (i) between the Taliban and the Afghan government, (ii) between the Taliban and the U.S. government (iii) between the U.S. and the Pakistan governments and (iv) between the Afghan and Pakistani governments including the regional and neighbouring countries. The study also found that most participants are devoted to their own political networks, and ethnical interests while negotiating with the insurgents group rather having a common agenda.

The HPC and its efforts through political networks have significant challenges ahead for achieving a long lasting peace and sustainable development in Afghanistan. This study examined the effects of networked politics at the HPC of Afghanistan by evaluating the related policies and experiences of political elites who were involved in the political and policy process of this institution.

For this reason, the study examined related policy documents and the generalisation of individual reasons for establishment of institution such as High Peace Council where the country is suffering from insecurity. It is also based on reviews of existing researches, especially researches of post conflicted countries. This study conducted interviews with political elites to find out and examine real influences of policies can be revealed by assessing these testimonies. Although ten interviewees are not enough to represent the entire networked politics within HPC, the research outcomes can still be used as meaningful advice and opinions for networked politics and the policy process in Afghanistan.

This study actually calls into question claims that there has been a real devolution of power in post conflict country as advocated by the theory of (Rhodes, 2007; Hafner-Burton & Montgomery, 2010). Although on the surface it gives the impression of a dispersion of powers to stakeholders since a number of autonomous agencies or organisations such as Loya Jirga, U.S. and NATO forces, civil societies are cooperative to each other publically. What this has in fact resulted in is the shifting of responsibility to HPC as tactical institution even though has no real authority. In reality, such agency is still very much puppets of government or possibly a tool to put much political pressure on the unarmed opposition's parties.

Reza Kateb studied Public Policy at the University of Bristol in the UK. He has worked for twelve years with different international and national organizations in Afghanistan. Presently he is working as Policy Analyst Governance at Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan.

 
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