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Empires of Mud: Wars and Warlords in Afghanistan (Hardback)
  • Empires of Mud: Wars and Warlords in Afghanistan (Hardback)
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Empires of Mud: Wars and Warlords in Afghanistan (Hardback)

(author)
£60.00
Hardback 320 Pages / Published: 06/09/2012
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Warlords are charismatic military leaders who exploit weak central authorities in order to gain control of sub-national areas. Notwithstanding their bad reputation, warlords have often participated in state formation. In Empires of Mud Giustozzi analyses the dynamics of warlordism in Afghanistan within the context of such debates. He approaches this complex task by first analysing aspects of the Afghan environment that might have been conductive to the fragmentation of central authority and the emergence of warlords and then accounts for the emergence of warlordism in the 1980s and subsequently. He accounts for the phenomenon from the 1980s to today, considering Afghanistan's two foremost warlords, Ismail Khan and Abdul Rashid Dostum, and 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. The author also discusses Ahmad Shah Massoud, whose 'system' incorporated elements of rule not dissimilar from that of the warlords. Giustozzi reveals common themes in the emergence of warlordism, particularly the role of local military leaders and their gradual acquisition of 'class consciousness,' which over time evolves into a more sophisticated, state-like, or political party-like, structure.

Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9781850659327
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 225 x 145 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'Assesses the dynamics of warlordism... [It offers] a chilling prognosis for those who believe that the solution to stabilizing Afghanistan will come only from the top down - - by building strong central government institutions. Although creating a strong centralized state, assuming it ever happens, may help ensure long-term stability, it is not sufficient in Afghanistan. The current top-down state-building and counterinsurgency efforts must take place alongside bottom-up programs, such as reaching out to legitimate local leaders to enlist them in providing security and services at the village and district levels. Otherwise, the Afghan government will lose the war.' -- Foreign Affairs
'Giustozzi has written a masterful account of the dilemmas of state-building in Afghanistan and his concluding words should be heeded when he warns that he doubts that strong national leadership will emerge in a context of external intervention in Afghanistan.' -- International Affairs
'The first book to provide a political sociology of warlordism in Afghanistan; its purpose is to understand in detail how warlord polities work, expand and disintegrate. Empires of Mud will become required reading, both for academics and policy-makers studying the phenomenon of warlordism, and for those with a specialist interest in Afghanistan.' -- Dr Jonathan Goodhand, School of Oriental and African Studies
'Antonio Giustozzi's books and articles on Afghanistan are uniformly penetrating, and this work is no exception. The issue of warlordism in conflict is one of the most challenging that one can confront in both conceptual and practical terms, and he has contributed significantly on both fronts. Empires of Mud is an enlightening study which in its detailed appraisal of two major Afghan cases adds valuably to the literature on developments in that country since the communist coup of April 1978 sent Afghanistan into a tailspin from which it is yet to recover.' -- William Maley, Australian National University

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