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Transnational Networks and Migration from Faryab to Iran

Transnational Networks and Migration from Faryab to Iran

Transnational Networks and Migration from Faryab to Iransons), while the vertical redistribution mechanisms continue on the basis of zakat,gleaning rights, loans and begging.The Uzbek and Pashtun hamlets are located about 10 minutes by foot from the Arabvillage, the Pashtun hamlet was established by a Pashtun kuchi (nomad) man whohad received 100 jeribs of irrigated and 200 jeribs of rain-fed land as a reward forthe services of his father during the reign of King Zahir Shah. Since the Sovietoccupation, the family started to move away from its semi-nomadic existence on thebasis of herds, as (an estimated) hundreds of sheep and goats died or were taken bythe mujaheddin. Currently only a few animals can be found in the hamlet.After the death of the hamlet founder, the property was divided among his ninesons, who all received five jeribs of irrigated land and ten jeribs of rain-fed land.Two of them were still living in the hamlet in 2004, referring to themselves asnemcha bai (small landlords). His grandsons face more economic difficulties as aresult of ongoing division of the land, thereby diminishing income opportunities, andpopulation growth will further decrease those livelihoods opportunities based onaccess to land and its produce. The family’s relative wealth is, however,characterised by extensive horizontal social networks which are part of a vasttransnational network covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.The Uzbek families live on the landowner’s land in their own hamlet. Most came 20years ago from the district of Shirin Tagab, while others joined in more recent timesfrom rural Maimana – all drawn to the area for economic reasons. The men aredehqan, or, when drought hits the area, they become daily labourers or move awayfrom the area (as they did in the summer of 2004). They obtain one-fifth of the cropor daily wages (160 Afghanis/two seer of wheat a day), housing and taqaway (loansof wheat) in exchange for their labour.The Uzbek families’ situation is characterised by a degree of looming insecurity,with the bai maintaining the right to evict them from the settlement at any time.The majority of families experience a lack of other economic opportunities, anddependency on the landlord is their best option. With weak or no horizontalredistribution networks, for the majority of these Uzbek families their relationshipwith the landlord and their dependence on him for addressing their basic needs isprecarious and not to be tested, to ensure that the relationship can continuepeacefully at all costs.3.2 Patterns of migrationDuring the Soviet occupation and afterwards, migration patterns in Faryab wereinfluenced by the immediate violence of local power struggles, as well as byprofessional and political affiliations, employment opportunities and the availabilityof national and transnational networks. Over the past 25 years, the manteqa haswitnessed a high level of displacement and migration in which a complex pattern ofdispersal has been established featuring transnational networks from Iran toAfghanistan, and also Pakistan in the case of the Pashtun families.The Faryab-based Pahlwan family was notorious for pursuing their own interests, andnot only Pashtuns but also Arabs and Uzbeks had to endure their share of humanAfghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit 15

Transnational Networks and Migration from Faryab to Iranrights violations. 27 With the arrival of the Taliban, half of the Arab familiesreportedly left. Their departure was prompted by fear of harassment, looting, rape,taxing and imprisonment. Some went into the surrounding areas for a couple ofnights at a time, while others moved to IDP camps or found their own housingelsewhere for a longer period of time. Persecution prevailed across allsocioeconomic classes, and the landowning Arab family saw many of its men leavingfor Iran to seek safety.Table 3: Migration from 1979–2003: a focus on Faryab 28Period Ethnic group Who WhyBeginning ofSovietoccupation,including periodof Babrak Karmal(1978–86)Arab, Uzbek, Pashtunfamilies, individualmenconflict and fighting,conscriptionNajibullah (1987–1992)Arab, Uzbek, Pashtunfamilies, individualmeninsecurity, lack of employment,conscriptionMujaheddin/RasulPahlwan andMalik Pahlwan(1992–98)UzbekPashtun, Arabfamiliesfamilies, individualmenfear of conscription,harassment, looting, ethnicpersecutionTaliban(1998–2001)Uzbek and Arabfamilies, young andmiddle-aged menfear of persecution (for manyyounger men)Karzai (2001– ) Pashtun, Uzbek, Tajik families, men persecution, conscription andgeneral lack of rule of lawThe Pashtun families inhabiting the hamlet are widely connected with relatives inShirin Tagab (Faryab), Pakistan and Iran, with some offshoots in Saudi Arabia andTurkmenistan. From the time of the Soviet invasion, families moved to these placesbecause of the fighting, high levels of insecurity, lack of employment opportunitiesand the drought. One respondent says:During Zahir Shah’s period, everyone was one, there was no difference andwe were all drinking from one well – we were all Afghan. The Soviets cameand everybody rose up against them. Then families left one person in eachplace. The mujaheddin were everywhere and we could not move from oneplace to the next.Although this historical explanation clearly begins with a Pashtun bias, it continueswith the Pashtun’s strategy of dispersal initiated and maintained throughout theyears of conflict, in which people, information, and goods travelled along the linesof elaborate social networks. Political positioning appeared to be a crucial part ofthis social strategy. Different members affiliated themselves with distinct politicalfactions over time, always leaving some families behind while others left, fearing27 After the death of Rasul Pahlwan in the mid nineties, his brothers, Abdul Malik and Gul-i Pahlwan,continued with his regime by opposing Abdul Rashid Dostum while supporting the same culture ofhuman rights violations towards not only Pashtuns but also other ethnic groups.28 Amalgated from data collected in Maimana and Qarashikhi, Giustozzi (2004) and Rashid (2000).Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit 16

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