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The first book to provide a political sociology of warlordism in Afghanistan. In the words of Antonio Giustozzi, the purpose of this book is to understand in detail the expansion, disintegration, and operation of warlord polities. More specifically, what is warlordism? How and why did it take root in Afghanistan? What were its effects on the Afghan polity and society? How did warlordism change as a result of challenges first from the Taliban and then from international intervention in 2001? And finally, how does a fine-grained analysis of warlordism throw new light on current political and theoretical debates? This book will become required reading for those studying this phenomenon, especially the special case of Afghanistan.