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Jim D. has dreamed of being a part of something bigger than him. He was a professor out of college at the age of 28. He created and taught International Development which focused on conflict in foreign countries. However, he wanted to be apart of his teachings.
“I call myself a pracidemic.”
Now, he is 49-years-old, and applied his knowledge as a professor to stability operations in Afghanistan. Stability operations are when you examine hostile areas and try to keep peace there with our policies.
“A stability operation is like a doctor that asks you why you are sick.”
When dealing with these situations, he is the person who finds peaceful resolutions to calm an area of tension. He has travelled to places like Afghanistan, China and Africa. This also requires the aid of U.S. troops. Jim teaches the troops about the culture of the unfamiliar area.
“I am the doctor, and I go around asking people what is wrong, I prescribe them certain solutions and I check back with them later.”
Paktika Province, Afghanistan… It’s been eight years since the U.S. government overthrew Al-Qaeda presence in 2001. The Afghan people are fighting over land and feel insurgence about their government. “Insurgence is when somebody wants to try and change government,” explains Jim.
But who solves these disputes? The Afghan tribe (government) is supposed to solve these problems because they have for so long. But, the Taliban are solving these disputes in hopes of political support over the tribes’ Pashtunwali code, or “the way the tribes settle their disputes.”
One way that the Taliban succeeds over the Afghan government is by providing the people a court system. The Taliban must not earn enough support for them to take control of Afghanistan’s government.
“If we don’t solve problems, it could cause instability.”
Jim must solve these problems partnered with the Afghan government before the Taliban do.
“We have to do a better job than the Taliban on solving societal problems.”
So far, Jim has done his job in Paktika Province of helping solve the problems and keeping the Taliban away.
At the end of his task, he hopes that the Afghan people will be able to solve the problems on their own. He also hopes to change the government to have a form of democracy. Soon, he is going to go back to Paktika Province and check on the Afghan government. Jim hopes that what he set up for their government is still working.
Keeping peace is a difficult task but it has to be done. One positive experience is he is influencing policy in Afghanistan and can make a difference.
“I’m having an impact on something that is bigger than me.”