Empires of Mud: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007

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Overview

Warlords are charismatic leaders who exploit weak authorities to gain control of subnational areas. Nevertheless, warlords do in fact participate in state formation, and this book considers the dynamics of warlordism within the context of such debates. Antonio Giustozzi begins with aspects of the Afghan environment that are conducive to the fragmentation of central authority and the emergence of warlords. He then accounts for the phenomenon from the 1980s to today, considering Afghanistan's two foremost warlords, Ismail Khan and Abdul Rashid Dostum, along with their political, economic, and military systems of rule.

Despite the intervention of Allied forces in 2001, both of these leaders continue to wield considerable power. Giustozzi studies the similarities and differences between their administrations and compares them against the ascendance of a third warlord, Ahmad Shah Massoud, who incorporates similar elements of rule. Giustozzi identifies prevalent themes in the emergence of warlordism, particularly the role of local military leaders and their gradual acquisition of "class consciousness." He then tracks the evolution of this strategy into a more sophisticated state-like, or political-party-like, structure.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Goodhand

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231700801
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 11/2/2009
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio Giustozzi has spent more than a decade visiting, researching, and writing on Afghanistan. He is a research fellow at the Crisis States Research Center, London School of Economics, and the author of Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field and the bestselling Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan.

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