The Afghan Conundrum: intervention, statebuilding and resistance: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Afghan Conundrum: intervention, statebuilding and resistance

1st Edition

Edited by Jonathan Goodhand, Mark Sedra


192 pages

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This book covers the period spanning the international invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to the foreign military withdrawal in 2014. It explores and dissects the conflictual encounter between international troops, statebuilders and donors on the one hand, and Afghan elites and the wider population on the other. It brings together a group of leading experts and analysts on Afghanistan who examine the varied reasons behind the mixed and often perverse effects of exogenous state-building and reflects upon their implications for wider theory and practice. The starting point of the various contributions is a serious engagement with empirical realities, drawing upon extended experience and field research. Their exploration of the unfolding dynamics and effects of external intervention raise fundamental questions about the core premises underlying the state-building project.

This book was published as a special issue of Central Asian Survey.

Table of Contents

1. Rethinking liberal peacebuilding, statebuilding and transition in Afghanistan: an introduction 2. Statebuilding in Afghanistan: challenges and pathologies 3. Statebuilding in Afghanistan: a contradictory engagement 4. Contested boundaries: NGOs and civil–military relations in Afghanistan 5. A tale of two retreats: Afghan transition in historical perspective 6. March towards democracy? The development of political movements in Afghanistan 7. The dynamics of informal political networks and statehood in post-2001 Afghanistan: a case study of the 2010–2011 Special Election Court crisis 8. Order, stability, and change in Afghanistan: from top-down to bottom-up state-making 9. The hollowing-out of the liberal peace project in Afghanistan: the case of security sector reform 10. Getting savages to fight barbarians: counterinsurgency and the remaking of Afghanistan 11. Nexuses of knowledge and power in Afghanistan: the rise and fall of the informal justice assemblage

About the Editors

Jonathan Goodhand is a Professor of Conflict and Development Studies at the University of SOAS. He has more than twenty five years experience of working in and on Afghanistan and has published widely on the political economy of conflict and peacebuilding.

Mark Sedra is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and Balsillie School of International Affairs. He is also the Executive Director of the Centre for Security Governance, a non-profit think tank dedicated to the study of security transitions in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states.

About the Series


THIRDWORLDS will focus on the political economy, development and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval, and which have faced the greatest challenges of the postcolonial world under globalisation: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.

THIRDWORLDS serves as a signifier of oppositional emerging economies and cultures ranging from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and even those ‘Souths’ within a larger perceived North, such as the U.S. South and Mediterranean Europe. The study of these otherwise disparate and discontinuous areas, known collectively as the Global South, demonstrates that as globalisation pervades the planet, the south, as a synonym for subalterity, also transcends geographical and ideological frontiers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies