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On War and Peace

Nearly thirty years after the Rwandan genocide, thousands of maimed amputees remind us of the war that took 500,000 lives in 100 days. War leaves marks that cannot be erased—not only in Rwanda, but on every continent.

Reporting from On War and Peace examines the roots of conflict, whether it be religious hatred, sectarian rivalry, a security vacuum, the struggle for natural resources, or the desperation that results from poverty.

Pulitzer Center journalists also cover war’s aftermath: the transitional governments that result in chaos, diplomacy that goes awry, peace talks that never end, and the people who suffer the consequences, young and old. We see the children who go hungry, lose their homes, leave school, become combatants, or join the jihad.

Often the end to conflict leaves turmoil in its wake while the road to peace seems circuitous: In South Sudan, rebel-commanders-turned politicians plunge the country into civil war. In the U.S., troops return home from one war only to be re-deployed to another. But everywhere, in every conflict, there are also voices crying out for peace, determined to heal the divide.

On War and Peace

Afghan voters brave rockets, bombs

SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan | In the months leading up to Afghanistans second presidential election, there was growing optimism the country was shifting away from ethnic patronage toward a newer kind of issues-based politics.

As Afghans went to the polls Thursday amid reports of low voter turnout, sporadic violence and fraud, anecdotal evidence suggested that former warlords still wield heavy-handed influence that could ultimately decide who wins.

Afghanistan: The Courage to Vote. But Twice?

In the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, Amina, 32, says she was awoken by the explosion of rocket propelled grenades at the edge of her neighborhood on election day. It was one of at least nine rockets that targeted polling stations around the city. She waited several hours troubled by second thoughts before she finally setting out to vote, her four-year-old daughter in tow. "I was very afraid. But I voted because it's my right, just like men do," she says. "Our democracy is young and we must be brave."

The War Lord Who Is Key to Karzai's Victory

The U.S. and many Afghans may see Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum as the epitome of the worst brand of warlord politics, but to President Hamid Karzai he represents a bloc of votes crucial to winning reelection. The feared Uzbek warlord, who returned to Afghanistan from Turkish exile on Monday, urged some 10,000 people gathered in his home district to vote for Karzai. The president needs to win more than 50% of the votes cast on Thursday to avoid a runoff election. And Dostum figures his endorsement will deliver 500,000 additional votes to the incumbent.

Taliban's pre-election bombing intensifies

KABUL, Afghanistan | Insurgents stepped up a bombing campaign Tuesday in an apparent attempt to disrupt Thursday's elections, and the government countered by restricting local and international media reports of extremist attacks on election day.

A suicide attack on a NATO convoy killed at least eight people: seven civilians and one NATO service member near Kabul. At least 55 were wounded.

Security ramps up for Afghan election

KABUL, Afghanistan | As Afghanistan's second-ever presidential campaign season came to a close Monday, authorities moved to tighten security in the face of Taliban threats to disrupt the vote with attacks on polling stations.

Fears persist that militant violence could affect balloting in the Pashtun-dominated south with adverse results for President Hamid Karzai, the Pashtun front-runner. Mr. Karzai needs more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

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