Last week, I was in Kurram – a district of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which is among the areas in Pakistan most affected by conflict. It belies the outside image of a desolate, dangerous and abandoned area. Instead it is lush, lively and full of new energy despite it going through tragically turbulent times over the last years. The hospitality was among the warmest I have ever experienced! We met with people who were eagerly waiting to go back in the next 2 weeks and visited the areas that they were so keen to return to. And I was not surprised why! I was mesmerized by the beauty of the area and the way the villages perched on ridges and mountain sides. But while beautiful from a distance, up close the effects of the conflict and the desertedness of 6 years without people were daunting. We saw how much had to be done in the next months to rebuild and restore the area while reinforcing the necessity of supporting people as they do this.
We met people from a neighbouring area who after 4 years of displacement had returned two years ago. It is inspiring to see what they had accomplished and how they had applied lessons learned during displacement . Most impressive were village leaders who when asked what their priorities were said it was girls and boys education!
It showed to me the value of the support the government, the UN and international community provide d over the last years and reiterated the importance of continuing that support until all people are back. That will permit people to not only live in a stable environment but also to improve their lives
The pictures illustrate some of this.