Author Archives: Afghanopoly

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.

No Sustainable Peace without Involving Transnational Partners

Next week the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law will bring together a mix of academics, policy-makers, and NGO representatives to talk about the transnational dimension of ‘local’ conflicts, in Mali and Afghanistan more particularly. Before we all meet in the … Continue reading

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Marshal Fahim Died Today

Marshal Fahim, the first Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, died of a heart attack Sunday March 9, 2014. In these times of uncertainty, his death raises important questions and is likely to impact the future of Afghan … Continue reading

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Afghanizing COIN

No civilian in the development world really likes to talk about military issues. At best people will mention the development/security nexus, or the need to disarm violent militias that don’t respect human rights and good governance. Most NGO workers, UN personnel, … Continue reading

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Patrimonialism, Warlordism, and Corruption

Patrimonialism, warlordism, and corruption… These are what most Western observers believe to be some of the greatest impediments to the modernization of Afghanistan. Add opium to the list and you can start to grasp the difficulty and complexity of building … Continue reading

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Hard-Earned Humility

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week, nearly twelve years after the U.S. intervened in Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban regime, President Obama spoke of a “hard earned humility when it comes to [the U.S.] … Continue reading

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Sovereignty as “Organized Hypocrisy”

One would think that a poor, mountainous, and landlocked country like Afghanistan would be isolated from the rest of the world. Afghanistan seems to be almost always part of a bigger story. In the past 200 years or so, it’s … Continue reading

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Is State-Building Doomed to Fail?

While no one really expects Afghanistan to be turned into a “Jeffersonian democracy” or a Weberian state anytime soon, it might still be worthwhile to study the classical literature on European state formation to understand what’s going on in Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan, “the Graveyard of Empires?”

New year, new job, new students… While it’s always a challenge to teach Afghan politics, I have to say I am pretty excited at the prospect of teaching a new course on “War and State-Building in Afghanistan.” For my first … Continue reading

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Don’t Forget the Veranda

Afghanistan is at a crossroads. With the departure of American forces scheduled for 2014, no one really denies the fact that things are going to change. It seems like the country’s future is at stake. Right now, policy-makers, analysts, US … Continue reading

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Violence and Insurgency in Afghanistan: A Somali Perspective, by William Reno (Northwestern University)

This is a guest post that offers a different approach. Will Reno and I are working on a project that looks at armed groups in comparative perspective. His extensive knowledge and experience in Sub-Saharan Africa provide a different basis for … Continue reading

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