Afghanistan's lack of a state monopoly of violence reflects on its foreign policy in a number of ways. First, various non-state organizations developing their own relations with foreign countries. Second, enforcing coherent policy making within the institutions of the Afghan state itself has been sometimes problematic as officials could rely on the patronage of organizations external to the state to delay the implementation of official policies. This article discusses the cases of Afghan foreign policy towards Pakistan, India, China and Iran.
Claudio Franco and Antonio Giustozzi
Interviews with Taliban cadres and commanders challenge conventional views about the inherently fragmented character of the Taliban insurgency and about the role of the Quetta Taliban leadership in running the military organization of the Taliban. The so-called Haqqani network operated as a largely autonomous force from 2007 until 2015, as did the Peshawar Shura from 2009 onward. However, both the Haqqanis and the Peshawar Shura were able to impose a much greater degree of coherence and discipline among its ranks than the Quetta Shura was able to, at least until 2015.
Antonio Giustozzi Dr. and Adam Baczko
The Taliban established their own judicial system in Afghanistan as both an instrument of population control and as a means to project themselves as an effective parallel government. Despite the heavy reliance on coercion, the Taliban’s method of dealing with common criminality and resolving disputes was often welcome, though the weak appeal system and the rapidity of the trials was sometimes criticized. A more structured approach to coercion, featuring rules, regulation and supervision over the military, allows less use of violence and promises increased predictability for the population, making active resistance less of a necessity. In the long run, the establishment of credible judiciary institutions reshapes the social environment and creates vested interests in favor of Taliban domination.