Abuse of power and conflict persistence in Afghanistan
Rangelov, Iavor and Marika Theros (2012) ‘Abuse of power and conflict persistence in Afghanistan’ Conflict, Security & Development, 12(3):227-248.
The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan presents a paradox. While international efforts to stabilise the country have been steadily increasing since 2001, the same period has been marked by a return to violence and constant escalation of the conflict. The Taliban’s growing strength is often attributed to the weakness of the Afghan state in extending authority and delivering public goods. Less attention has been paid to the ways in which power and authority are exercised and experienced in Afghanistan. In the current system of governance, abuse of power has become endemic and has emerged as a major driver of persistent conflict. This paper examines some of the key actors and forms of abuse and identifies a set of mechanisms by which abuse of power stimulates conflict persistence.