What We're Reading
July 2017 | Afghanistan

For the month of July, the RESOLVE Network team’s “What We’re Reading” post features research focused on concepts related to governance, ideas, individuals, and violence in the country of Afghanistan.  Many of the articles below informed our two latest Network Working Papers: Mining the Gaps and The Governance Nexus.  These publications investigate the nature of governance, international involvement, and counterinsurgency; explore trends in radicalization and extremist belief; offer a window into the different extremist groups and populations; and further explore the character of violence in the South and Central Asian state. Click the links below to view the documents.

The Taliban’s ‘Military Courts
The Taliban's 'code of conduct', which lists rules of discipline for the fighters, has been widely discussed, but do the Taliban try to implement it? This article discusses the structures...
Getting Savages to Fight Barbarians: Counterinsurgency and the Remaking of Afghanistan
This article focuses on the emergence and evolution of the Afghan Local Police (ALP), a pro-government militia supported by the US military in Wardak Province. The ALP and its previous in...
Regional Responses to Radicalization in Afghanistan Obstacles, Opportunities and an Agenda for Action
The establishment of the Vilayat-e Khorasan front of Daesh in Afghanistan has worried neighboring countries, because – unlike the Afghan Taliban, whose ambitions were limited to Afghan ...
Political Stability in Afghanistan: A 2020 Vision and Roadmap
Sixteen years after the start of the international intervention in Afghanistan, the country remains beset by a debilitating array of conflicts, undermined political stability, an economic...
Afghan Youth and Extremists: Why Are Extremists’ Narratives So Appealing?
Four decades of political instability, violent conflict, and socioeconomic crisis has had a devastating impact on Afghanistan and its citizens. As this Peace Brief explains, understanding...
Ideology in the Afghan Taliban
The Taleban’s ideology is historically rooted in the world of the pre-1979, southern Pashtun village. The village contains various and competing ethical traditions, one of which laid th...
Radicalization and Violent Extremism in Central Asia and Afghanistan
Radicalization and violent extremism are growing problems for Central Asia and Afghanistan. The issue of radicalization must be addressed at its early stage in order to prevent that it wo...
Understanding Taliban Resurgence: Ethno-Symbolism and Revolutionary Mobilization
This article argues that the post-2001 Taliban resurgence was due to their capacity to act as resourceful ethnic entrepreneurs through selective usage of dominant Pashtun and Islamic myth...
Like Red Tulips at Springtime: Understanding the Absence of Female Martyrs in Afghanistan
In an era where female suicide terrorism is on the rise in conflict regions such as the Middle East, the North Caucasus, and South Asia, why has Afghanistan been largely immune to this tr...
Taliban Adaptations and Innovations
Since 1978, insurgents in Afghanistan have endured a state of constant conflict, facing two occupying forces that have fielded modernized, highly capable militaries with a multitude of nu...
The Islamic State in Afghanistan: Examining its Threat to Stability
In seeking to explain why and how the war in Afghanistan has dragged on, most analysis has focused on the western and Afghan government effort. In this article, we examine how the war loo...
Numerous, Capable, and Well-Funded Rebels: Insurgent Military Effectiveness and Deadly Attacks in Afghanistan
Why do some of Afghanistan's provinces experience more deadly attacks on counterinsurgents than others? We argue that provinces with more militarily effective insurgents will be deadlier ...
Revisiting the “Problem from Hell": Suicide Terror in Afghanistan
A hallmark of the resurgence of antigovernment forces in Afghanistan was the mass introduction of suicide terrorist attacks. Between 2005 and 2006, the incidence of suicide bombings incre...
Violence and Civilian Loyalties: Evidence from Afghanistan
Insurgency and counterinsurgency are widely described as “population-centric warfare”: a competition between military actors over civilian loyalties. Drawing on a high-resolution conf...