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Warlordism and Development in Afghanistan

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Abstract

On April 17, 2002, Interim Deputy Defense Minister of Afghanistan, Abdul Rashid Dustum, asked a journalist, “What is this warlord thing you journalists keep calling me?” The next day, Dustum, dressed in civilian clothes instead of his habitual fatigues, stood next to the freshly disembarked Afghan ex-king Zahir Shah at a welcoming ceremony at Kabul airport.1 This was not the query of an odious militia boss, but the demonstration of power of a serious force mobilizing his resources to remain politically influential and to become a key agent in the international reconstruction effort of this poor and ruined country. Indeed, who is an Afghan warlord? How can outsiders deal with the many non-state leaders who possess military strength, the charisma of national liberators, and the ability to capture regional rule in fragmented Afghanistan?

Keywords

  • Drug Trafficking
  • Peace Process
  • Security Sector
  • Security Sector Reform
  • Soviet Occupation

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Notes

  1. William B. Durch, “Security and Peace Support in Afghanistan: Analysis and Short- to Medium-Term Options,” Rev.5, Henry L. Stimson Center, July 31, 2002, at <http://www.stimson.org/fopo/pubs.cfin?ID=58>.

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  2. Barnett Rubin, “The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan,” Eurasia.net, 1999, at <http://www.eurasianet.org/resource/afghanistan/links/rubin99.shtml>.

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  3. See, e.g., John Keegan, A History of Warfare (London: Hutchison, 1993); Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1999); and John Mackinlay, “Defining Warlords,” in Building Stability in Africa: Challenges for the New Millennium (2000), at <http://www.iss.co.za/Pubs/Monographs/No46/Defining.hrml>.

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  6. Owen Lattimore, Pivot ofAsia (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1950), p. 53.

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  7. Rich, Warlordism in International Relations, p. 3. See also, Arthur Waldron, “Warlordism versus Federalism: The Revival of Debate?” China Quarterly, Vol. 121 (March 1990): pp. 116–128.

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  8. Paul B. Rich, Warlords in International Relations, p. 4.

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  9. John Mackinlay, Globalization and Insurgency (New York: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2002), p. 94.

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  10. Barnett Rubin, Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System, 2nd ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002), p. 46.

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  11. See M. Nazif Shahrani, “Resisting The Taliban and Talibanism in Afghanistan: Legacies of a Century of Internal Colonialism and Cold War Politics in a Buffer State,” Journal Of International Affairs, Vol. 5, No. 4 (2001), at <http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/percept/v-4/shahrani.10.htm>.

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  15. Ralph H. Magnus and Eden Naby, Afghanistan: Mullah, Marx and Mujahid, p. 153.

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  19. Jonathan Steele, “Arms and Warlords,” The Guardian, July 16, 2002.

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  20. Sedra, “Challenging the Warlord Culture: Security Sector Reform in Post-Taliban Afghanistan,” p. 18.

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  23. Frederick S. Starr and Marin J. Strmecki, “Afghan Democracy and Its First Missteps,” New York Times, June 14, 2002.

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© 2004 John D. Montgomery and Dennis A. Rondinelli

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Abdullaev, K.N. (2004). Warlordism and Development in Afghanistan. In: Montgomery, J.D., Rondinelli, D.A. (eds) Beyond Reconstruction in Afghanistan. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403981172_10

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