Afghanistan: February 20, 2004


Banditry is still common throughout most of the country, and this has made it difficult to run many foreign aid operations. It's tough on tourism as well. The bandits are sometimes accused of being Taliban, and sometimes they are, sort of, some of the time. The big problem is unemployment, lots of guns and many young guys looking to get paid one way or another. When the Taliban was in power, the banditry was kept under control by telling the tribes to make their young guys behave, otherwise the tribe would be attacked by Taliban gunmen (who were often foreigners, al Qaeda fighters acting as enforcers for the Taliban.) This was a traditional approach to law and order, but is not acceptable any more. Building up a national police force to chase the bandits is expensive, time consuming and no one knows how well it will work. Tribal elders tend to tolerate young tribesmen doing the banditry thing, because the victims are members of other tribes. Tribal elders are less tolerant of outsiders (national police) shooting at young members of the tribe and accusing them of crimes (banditry.) Problems like this are not unique to Afghanistan, but are common in all parts of the world (and over thousands of years) where tribalism is still a powerful social force. Past experience has shown that it takes generations of educating the tribal children and developing government that provides better social and legal services than the tribal leaders before the tribesmen get used to putting national law above tribal custom. 


Article Archive

Afghanistan: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close