Hotak, Amanullah, Class of 2013 – (Afghanistan)

Practicum Summary:

Study of Perceived Positive Deviant Communities in South and Southeast Afghanistan

Amanullah’s practicum focuses on community’s uncommon, but successful behaviors and strategies that have successes in managing security, development and peace building in their areas without any outside intervention. Using field-based listening techniques of open-ended questions and observations and questionnaires, Amanullah explores the determinants and dynamics in the existence of practices in positive deviant and non-positive deviant perceived communities in the Khogyani District of Nangarhar and Andar and the DehYak District of Ghanzi Province and Khoshi District of Logar Province. Through his study, he was able to identify and learn how communities have traditionally succeeded in maintaining peace and security in their villages—positively deviant communities, while whereas their neighboring communities with the same resources have not achieved this peace—non-positive deviant communities. In Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan, any raising of the community voice against the Taliban’s rule of law is considered deviant, and is considered a punishable sin. Through his data collection, Amanullah found that communities who did experience some resistance against the current regime, a deviant community, had the authority to act and resolve their issues without involving other parties, but only if the community institution is respected, maintained, and practiced. These social systems have either been developed by their forefathers or recently developed by their own action, but normally in the presence of Taliban military force or wealthy families with the resources to enforce these rules. Although it is often accompanied by armed force, Amanullah discovered that communities with strong local leadership that promoted the interests of the local community were more often than not communities that experienced high levels of peace and security. Amanullah believes that actively engaging the local community can increase communities’ opportunities for peace.