What An Afghan Warlord-Turned Vice President Tells Us About Military Intervention and State Building

Last month, American officials denied Afghan warlord-turned Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum a visa to the United States. In doing so, they did not simply refuse entry to the second-ranking official of a regime the United States helped put in place. They also turned down a man who was instrumental in recapturing the Northern city of Mazar-e Sharif from the Taliban in 2001; a man who worked hand in hand with US Special Forces as part of the “Global War on Terror.” Fifteen years later, the same man is barred from entering the United States.

The decision to reject Dostum’s visa application is indicative of the US government’s lack of coherence when it comes to working with non-state armed actors. Western policymakers value indigenous allies. In fact, working with militias has clear advantages, which have been well identified in recent scholarship(deniabilityintelligence, access, etc.). Most importantly, using “proxy warriors” allows the United States and others to intervene militarily in far away places without the burden of having to send ground forces (for example when fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria).

To read more, go to “Political Violence @ a Glance

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About Afghanopoly

I am an Assistant Professor of peace and conflict studies at Radboud University's Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM). I completed my PhD in Political Science at Northwestern University and Sciences Po under the supervision of Will Reno and Bertrand Badie. Among other things, I teach students about the politics of international intervention in Afghanistan and elsewhere. My research focuses on the political strategies that Afghan strongmen use to consolidate and legitimize their authority. I am particularly interested in how these actors manage to conduct their own forms of international relations. My field research brings me in contact with Afghan community leaders, politicians, diplomats and foreign military officers.
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One Response to What An Afghan Warlord-Turned Vice President Tells Us About Military Intervention and State Building

  1. Ahmad Muslem Hayat says:

    The decision of VP Dostam US Visa rejection
    Has shown The US government will never
    Deal with criminals who committed crimes in Afghanistan with
    Support and advised directly by Soviet army and later on by Pakistani and Iranian intelligences to kill his own people.
    I would say it has been great decision of
    US officials.

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