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Pashtun Jirga

A “jirga,” or tribal assembly, is an ancient institution among the Pashtun communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A jirga is a forum to resolve disputes and a platform for generating consensus and finding solutions to problems. RFE/RL Correspondent Majeed Babar photographed many tribal jirgas near the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar before the onset of the Taliban insurgency a decade ago.
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Deliberations are a part of the jirga. Here, two clan leaders from the Afridi tribe debate the deployment of the Pakistani army to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in late 2001.
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Deliberations are a part of the jirga. Here, two clan leaders from the Afridi tribe debate the deployment of the Pakistani army to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in late 2001.

Jirga participants typically sit in circles to denote equality among the participants. Tribal assemblies guard egalitarianism among tribes where members, all of whom are male, are considered equal.
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Jirga participants typically sit in circles to denote equality among the participants. Tribal assemblies guard egalitarianism among tribes where members, all of whom are male, are considered equal.

Facial expressions often give away the emotions of the participants during a jirga.
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Facial expressions often give away the emotions of the participants during a jirga.

Parties to a conflict often make heated arguments while making their case before the jirga. Here, the residents of the town of Bara in the Khyber tribal district debate the fate of minority Sikhs threatened by a fanatical cleric in 2002.
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Parties to a conflict often make heated arguments while making their case before the jirga. Here, the residents of the town of Bara in the Khyber tribal district debate the fate of minority Sikhs threatened by a fanatical cleric in 2002.

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