Following more than three decades of political instability, violent conflicts, and foreign invasions, Afghanistan is home to nearly two generations that have grown up knowing only conflict and war. As a result, violent and aggressive behavior—particularly from young men—has become an accepted norm of Afghan society. This Peace Brief summarizes the initial findings of a pilot project to assess the impact of decades of conflict and violence on young Afghan men and the effect of efforts to teach them tolerance, peaceful masculinity, and basic conflict resolution and peacebuilding skills.
Afghans are physically and emotionally distressed from over three decades of war and violent conflicts.
During times of violent conflicts, survival takes precedence, forcing people to adopt violent and aggressive behavior. As a result, violence has become an acceptable way of resolving conflicts throughout Afghan society.
Social norms are highly influential in shaping individual’s behavior, including the use of violence. Thus, the concept of masculinity in Afghanistan needs to be redefined, with an emphasis on the rejection of violence and praise for those who resolve conflicts with peaceful solutions.