Mittwoch, 13. Januar 2016


Kuchi Nomad Woman, 1920's


Kochis or Kuchis (from the Persian word: کوچ koch; meaning "migration") are Afghan nomads similar to Arabian Bedouins, primarily from the Ghilji tribal confederacy. Some of the most notable Ghilji Kochi tribes include the Kharoti, Andar and Ahmadzai. Sometimes Durrani tribes can be found among the Kochi, and occasionally there may also be some Baloch people among them that live a pastoral nomadic lifestyle. In the Pashto language, the terms are Kochai (singular) and Kochian (plural). In the Persian language, "Kochi" and "Kochiha" are the singular and plural forms (respectively).

Kochis historically abstained from politics, because they are nomadic, but under Afghanistan's constitution, they were given ten seats in parliament. Provisions are written into the Afghanistan Constitution (Article 14) aimed at improving the welfare of Kochis, including provisions for housing, representation, and education. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, before the 30 years of war, Kochis owned 30 per cent of the country's goats and sheep and most of the camels for years, and they were largely responsible for the supply of slaughter animals, wool, ghee and quroot to the national economy.

Kochis were also favoured by the Kings of Afghanistan, themselves of Pashtun origin, since the late 1880s. They were awarded "firman," or royal proclamations, granting them use of summer pastures all over Afghanistan in a long-lasting Pashtunization campaign. During the Taliban era, Kochis were a main factor and supporter of the Taliban and their leader Mohammed Omar. As a result, the northern ethnic groups (Hazara, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmens) have a long-standing distrust of the Kochi. This political dispute has been deepened over the decades of Kochi transhumance, whereby some Kochis became absentee landlords in their summer areas in the north through customary seizure procedures to attach debtors' land. However, the Kochis themselves see the northern minority groups as a non-Afghan race, and claims the Kochis were natives of northern Afghan region, and that during many years of invasion such as Genghis Khan and Timur, they escaped south.

The Kochis have been identified by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan as one of the largest vulnerable populations in the country. As Afghanistan's population grows, competing claims over summer pastures, both for rainfed cultivation and for grazing of the settled communities' livestock, have created conflict over land across central and northern Afghanistan. Paying head-count fees for each animal crossing someone else's property is exacting a harsh economic toll on the Kochi way of life, one that is already having to contend with recurrent droughts that are now occurring with increasing frequency. There are communities of Pashtun Kochi origin in other parts of the world as well, including in the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. In Pakistan, some Kochis are found in Karachi in Sindh.




 

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