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THE WEST AFRICAN CONTEXT

COMPLEX CHALLENGES AMID ESCALATING VIOLENCE

In the past years, violence and instability have rapidly increased in the West African Region. Burkina Faso, previously a long-term beacon of stability and social cohesion in the region, is facing escalating conflict especially in the border areas towards Niger and Mali, yet also – still scattered – at its Benin border. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) found that since 2016, the number of violent attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger has grown five-fold, leaving in its wake more than 4,000 casualties. Current hotspots of violence are the regions Mopti (Mali) and Sahel (Burkina Faso), who each saw above 500 conflict-related casualties in 2019.

Several militant groups are challenging the states’ authority in an area that is difficult to control. Most of the groups uphold radical Islamic ideology and seek to exploit latent conflicts among the populations’ different ethnicities. A lack of both basic services and the respective infrastructure as well as overall state presence make it easier for militant groups to fill the vacuum and terrorise the local population which often lacks any means of protection.

(c) Monika Tortschanoff
(c) FSD
THE AFGHANISTAN CONTEXT

PREVAILING TENSIONS ALONG MULTIPLE CONFLICT LINES

Despite efforts to achieve a US peace agreement with the Afghan Taliban in 2019, violence continued in nearly all provinces of the country, claiming over 40,000 casualties. Among this heavy toll are many civilians, who are caught between attacks from the Taliban and other militias and rebel groups, as well as airstrikes by governmental forces. While the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K) has been nearly diminished in the border province of Nangarhar after having been battled for years by not only US and Afghan, but also by Taliban forces, the conflict between the Taliban and US troops intensified in the context of the peace negotiations as well as the presidential election in the second half of 2019.  

Multiple factors contribute to the general instability faced by Afghanistan, which also affects the border areas of the surrounding countries. Overall, the state’s contestation of legitimacy by the Taliban and other groups, as well as the government’s loss of control over large parts of the country’s territory create a highly instable context in which communities suffer.

PATRIP Foundation is a non-profit organisation that channels multi-donor funds into cross-border projects aimed at increased stability and integration in fragile regions.

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