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Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State? | RAND

September 18, Government Compound In Eastern Afghanistan Attacked At least one suicide bomber and several gunmen have attacked a government building in eastern Afghanistan, wounding 12 people including a child and a woman, officials say. September 16, U. September 13, U. September 12, Taliban Suicide Bombing Leaves Four Afghan Troops Dead At least four members of Afghan security forces have been killed in a suicide bombing at the front gate of a military base on the outskirts of Kabul, an official says.

The degree of Taliban willingness to compromise on this matter is unknown, raising questions about whether they will be able to make peace with the Afghan government. This pledge should be easy to obtain considering that the Taliban battle daily with the Islamic State, which they consider a sworn enemy. The Taliban seem ready, however, to deliver at least on the U. For Kabul, the U.

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To their credit, some Kabul officials continue working toward the eventual moment when they sit down with the Taliban and both sides compare visions of Afghan state structure and ways of drafting a new constitution. Trump scuppered the talks, and the onus is on Washington to press ahead with diplomacy. Taliban interlocutors say they are puzzled by U.

Washington will also need to manage criticism of the deal out of Kabul, which has spiked in the wake of the Camp David debacle. This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our privacy policy for more details. Andes Central America. Seven Opportunities for the UN in Originally published in U. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. Up Next. Undated handout picture of U. What was the U.

Facebook Email. Related Tags Afghanistan. Laurel Miller. Graeme Smith. Yes, I Agree. However, they also spoke more openly in the focus groups than their Pakistani counterparts about the lived experience of food insecurity. How and where food was purchased was discussed willingly by all participants.

Descriptions of accessing food through normal channels — food delivery, supermarkets and local shops — could be conceptually divorced by most participants from financial restrictions to food access food insecurity , alleviating sensitivities within the focus group associated with food insecurity. So I rely on my family to get food for me.

In halal food the meat is bled slowly so that the blood drains: the meat has less pain. But when this is rushed the meat is not good. It shows that the animal has suffered. I am worried about where I source my meat from. Nevertheless, cooking — particularly from scratch or in bulk — was discussed more commonly and with greater fervour in the two focus groups containing those participants who were relatively more affluent. Tight control of material resources within the household and keen attention to financial budgeting was a crucial — and cross-cultural — strategy to provide sufficient food.

Weekly food shopping was carefully planned; household budgets were composed on a weekly, monthly and even yearly basis, and food was bought in bulk and at discounted rates:. Every week we do a shop. If something is on offer we get a few bits of whatever is on offer so we have always got something stored, and then this lasts a long time. Amongst the most socioeconomically deprived participants this involved severely reducing their own food consumption to protect the wellbeing of their children:.

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Moderator: How often would that happen? Jade: Couple of times a week. Family, predominantly parents and, occasionally, grandparents were identified as crucially important to survival in hard times. The apparently unconditional support available from the families of many participants stood in contrast to their experience of the world beyond the family:.

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Family members provided emotional, childcare and material support, most often food; they helped avoid isolation in times of hardship; and provided skills that could be used to avoid or mitigate food insecurity, such as cooking skills. Most families are extended and people rely on their extended family. Like everyone in my family chips in, if one pays a bill, one does a shop.

However, family was not necessarily an unproblematic source of help. Participants who drew upon parental support in times of food insecurity either described previously assisting their parents with material resources or substituting their unpaid labour for the resources received, thereby retaining self-esteem and autonomy:. I would help out a lot at home to repay the debt. I would work really hard, I would clean and cook; it would be nothing just to make an extra chapatti — four rather than three.

Mutual support systems were almost completely mediated through women, reflecting and reinforcing the gendered organisation of care within families. Child benefit was a crucial source of independent income, paid direct to the mother, which was a lifeline when other sources of income were withheld — for instance, in the case of benefit sanctions — or where their partner controlled and withheld from them other benefit payments:.

It is different in England because you the woman gets your Child Benefits and your Tax Credits and you manage the money. He works and brings home money but you also have control. Well-established family networks were central to the day-to-day life of most Pakistani participants in the focus groups. Characteristically, participants lived with or very close to extended family; family members shared caring and food responsibilities within the household and provided accessible support networks.

The single food insecure Pakistani participant did not consider accessing food and financial support from her immediate family parents shameful, but support from extended family was not mentioned. Food itself was commonly shared not only with family members but also with neighbours. If you live in the heart of an Asian community food is always circulating. Neighbours give to neighbours; you cook a little extra as standard and give to others.

The sharing of food was both culturally and religiously [2] informed. Pakistani participants explained that food was most commonly shared between neighbours during religious festivals, especially Ramadan and Eid when food was also donated to and available from mosques:. In Ramadan, I cook for four or five families to be generous. There is a particular blessing for providing food for the fasting person. It is called Iftar. Religiously informed sharing of food also operated outside religious festivals, yet this apparently cultural practice remained underpinned by religious doctrine:.

It is part of Islam to give to your neighbours, even if your neighbours are non-Muslims. However, the dialogue amongst Pakistani women in the focus group suggested that religious doctrine and practice was of less significance than the more general contribution of food to the proper functioning and maintenance of honour within Pakistani and, more generally, South Asian households.

Providing food for household members and guests, in conjunction with conserving the financial security of the household, was central to the self-esteem and honour of the individual, particularly the mother, who held overall responsibility for care and food. Accordingly, the inability to provide food for family members or guests — due to financial constraints — was profoundly shameful. Indeed, this sense of shame was so acute that other items would be eschewed to ensure adequate food could be purchased:. I would rather have good food on the table than go on holiday or have flashy gadgets.

Living within your means is key […] Providing adequate food is just so fundamental to South Asian families. Food insecure white British participants tended to prioritise household items and utilities, including electricity and gas bills, before food; by contrast, Pakistani women described prioritising food above all else. There was apparently a greater tendency amongst Pakistani than amongst white British women in the sample to cook a single meal for the entire family and eat communally.

My family eats chicken three times a week and we also have fish. Twice a week we eat food from outside, like Panini or fish and chips. Those who had visited a food bank described the experience as unpleasant and undignified: processes within the food bank and condescending behaviour of staff reinforced existing inequalities between clients and food bank volunteers. Jade: You get your voucher and you wait for the taxi to go home and they ask you to move.

Moderator: Why?

Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State?

The process of collecting the food parcel was described as inflexible and isolating. The indignity of receiving a food parcel was reinforced by the content of the parcel itself, which was reported to be disassociated from the needs of clients. There appeared to be three reasons for the non-use of food aid: first, it was not required; second, it was avoided; and, third, the knowledge of food aid was limited or non-existent. As discussed above, participants drew upon a variety of strategies to manage food shortages and thereby avoid formal charitable or state support systems.

In particular, the material support provided by family members, predominantly mothers, enabled women to evade food aid:. The humiliation and shame equated with charitable food aid was presented by participants as a key reason for its avoidance. Intense shame borne of financial insecurity and food insufficiency prevented women, even in severe food insecurity, from accessing support outside the immediate family.


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The perceived shame of using a food bank was not limited to the individual but also impacted the family, who would intervene before charitable food aid was sought:. There would definitely be some form of intervention before it got to the stage where someone was going to a food bank. The family would intervene and help out financially. Poor knowledge of food banks was not a factor in non-use amongst white British participants, all of whom were aware of the food bank concept and knew of their existence in Bradford.