The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan

By Barnett R. Rubin

Sweden, 21 June 1999




An earlier version of this paper was presented at the meeting of the Afghanistan Support Group, Stockholm, Sweden, 21 June 1999. I would like to thank the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden for that opportunity. I owe special thanks to Ashraf Ghani for many exchanges of ideas on this subject over the years. I also benefited from comments and assistance from Sadiq Ahmed, William Byrd, Zareen F. Naqvi, Michael von den Schulenburg, Lakhdar Brahimi, Ahmed Rashid, Didier Leroy, and R. Scott Horton, but they, like Ashraf Ghani and my employer, the Council on Foreign Relations, bear no responsibility for the views expressed herein, which are mine alone.

The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan

Summary: The 20-year old Afghan conflict has created an open war economy, affecting Afghanistan and surrounding areas. Not only has Afghanistan become the world’s largest opium producer and a center for arms dealing, but it supports a multi-billion dollar trade in goods smuggled from Dubai to Pakistan. This criminalized economy funds both the Taliban and their adversaries. It has transformed social relations and weakened states and legal economies throughout the region. Sustainable peace will require not just an end to fighting and a political agreement but a regional economic transformation that provides alternative forms of livelihood and promotes accountability.

Keywords: Asia, Afghanistan, war, smuggling, Islam, refugees


Quid est aliud omnia ad bellum civile hosti arma largiri, primum nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam? (What is this but to lavish on an enemy all the weapons for civil war, first of all the sinews of war, unlimited money?)

Marcus Tullius Cicero, "The Fifth Phillipic of M. Tullius Cicero against M. Antonius," V.ii.5, in Cicero Philippics, with a translation by Walter C. A. Ker (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1951), pp. 260-1.


Classical interstate war may be, as von Clausewitz wrote, nothing else but the pursuit of politics with the admixture of other means, but the pursuit of politics through both peaceful and violent means requires money. Just as in many parts of the world political power is a principal means to the pursuit of wealth, war too may create conditions for economic activity, though often of a predatory nature. Political leaders speak in public about their ideas and goals, but much of their daily activity is devoted to raising the resources to exercise power and reward supporters or themselves. How political leaders raise and distribute these resources often determines the outcome of their acts, as much as if not more than their stated goals and intentions.

The dominant current form of war is neither Clausewitzian interstate war nor classic civil war (government versus insurgency), but transnational war involving a variety of official and unofficial actors often from several states. Such wars develop particular patterns of economic activity. The longer they persist, the more society and economy adapt to war, creating a relatively stable type of social formation, the civil or transnational war economy. A few actors profit, while most have no say in the development of their own society. Peacemaking requires not only political negotiations but transforming the war economy into a peace economy and creating institutions for accountability over economic and political decision making (Ignatieff, 1998; Holsti, 1995; Reno, 1998; Kaldor, 1999; Keen, 1998; Jean and Rufin, 1996).

The war economy of Afghanistan, which exemplifies this type of system, is an open war economy affecting a broad region. Stateless and devastated Afghanistan has become both a source of the world’s most valuable contraband – opium and its derivatives – and a transport and marketing corridor where armed groups protect a region-wide arbitraging center where profits are made off policy-induced price differentials. The region in question includes Dubai, the world’s largest duty-free shopping mall; Pakistan, a state where the combination symbolized by the two ISIs – the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence and a trade regime for import-substitution industrialization – have created a highly armed and corrupt society where economic interest and the imperatives of covert action combine to undermine enforcement of fiscal rules; Iran, where subsidized gasoline sells for three cents a liter; Afghanistan, an essentially stateless territory that has become the world’s largest producer of opium but that includes the remnants of a road network that, with difficulty, links Iran, Central Asia, and Pakistan; Central Asian states recently opened to the world without the institutions to govern markets; and a variety of linked wars, including Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.

In this context, through the development of an Afghan diaspora, the spread of means of transportation and communication, the development of cultural, kinship, and economic ties between Afghans and all the neighboring societies, the opening of borders and lack of customs enforcement in many areas, and the increase in opium production and other contraband activities, the Afghan war economy has given rise to a pattern of regional economic activity and associated social and political networks that compete with and at times undermine official economies and states.

Transformation of this criminalized war economy is thus essential not only to Afghanistan but to neighboring regions. The economic and political stability of Pakistan, in particular, is threatened by phenomena associated with the political economy of war in Afghanistan, but the phenomena also reach into Iran, the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and Central Asia, and, through the drug trade, into Russia, Europe, and North America.

Prewar Economy, State, and Society

The pre-war society of Afghanistan cannot be reconstructed, but today’s structures developed from transformations of that fragile and fragmented society. Furthermore, in the event that political conditions permit an attempt at reconstruction, an understanding of prewar social, economic, and political relations is necessary if Afghans and international actors are to avoid replicating or even magnifying dysfunctional features of the system that proved so vulnerable to external intervention and institutional collapse (Rubin, 1995a).

In the 1970s Afghanistan had an economy and society bifurcated between a rural, largely subsistence economy and an urban economy dependent on a state that in turn drew most of its income from links to the international state system and market. Agriculture and pastoralism accounted for about 60 percent of GDP, and about 85 percent of the population depended on the rural economy for its livelihood. As late as 1972, economists estimated that the cash economy constituted slightly less than half of the total. This figure probably increased later in the 1970s, as a result of the expansion of the national market after completion of the nation-wide ring road and a rise in remittances from labor migration to Persian Gulf countries after the 1973 oil price rise (Rubin, 1995a, 62-75; Fry, 1974, 135-62).

Government expenditure consumed less than 10 percent of the whole economy, less than 20 percent even of the cash economy. Government domestic revenue was even less than that. In the 1960s foreign aid accounted for 40 percent or more of the budget, including virtually all development projects. This aid came from both the Soviet- and US-led alliance systems, though the former predominated, especially in the military. As aid declined in the late 1960s, export of natural gas from northern Afghanistan to the Soviet Union (principally Uzbekistan) replaced it, so that these rentier incomes continued to finance slightly less than half the budget. Most of the rest came from taxes on a few items of foreign trade and government monopolies of commodities such as fuel and tobacco (Rubin, 1995a, 296-7).

The result was a government largely autonomous from most of the society it ruled. It was free to institute reforms in the limited part of the society it controlled but unable to transform or govern most of rural society. Hence when the elite was deposed in a coup d’?tat, it had few organizational resources to fall back on. The resistance developed largely in isolation from the pre-war rulers, whom Pakistan in any case blocked from reconstituting an Afghan nationalism with its irredentist claims on areas of its neighbor.

Afghanistan was among the world’s poorest countries, but it lacked the grinding poverty of ex-colonial societies with a higher degree of capitalist penetration. Its rural society still included a safety net based on an ethic of asymmetrical reciprocity within kinship-based solidarity groups (qawm). This solidarity was slowly being undermined by inroads of the market and education but the process was much less advanced than in neighboring countries. This was most manifest in some areas where property rights came to depend on enforcement by the state, rather than being a manifestation of local social relations. The state, which established private property in land and pasture, assured Pashtun nomads and landlords access to pasture and agricultural land in the largely non-Pashtun areas of central and northern Afghanistan. The state also made possible the development of absentee landlordism in the periphery of major cities. Before the mid-1950s, an merchant class led the country’s economic development, but thereafter the state nationalized the banking system and controlled the small industries that developed.

Urban society depended on the redistributive activities of the state. Since after the mid-1950s the private sector was largely confined to trade, the state controlled most urban employment, which expanded together with the foreign funded state. The state controlled almost the entire educational system (secular and Islamic), which expanded rapidly since the 1950s. The exception was the private, rural madrasas (Islamic academies) that steadily lost influence and prestige. The Islamic Movement of Taliban later emerged from these madrasas (and their kindred institutions in Pakistan) after nearly a generation of destruction of the state schools and the competing elites (nationalists, communists, Islamists) they had spawned (Roy, 1986; Rubin, 1995b).

Changes in the role of women, including voluntary unveiling, and women’s secular education and professional employment, were entirely urban phenomena dependent on the state sector. They were decreed by the highest (male) leadership of the state in order to implement a (lightly) imposed vision of modernization. The subsequent collapse and loss of legitimacy of the weakly modernizing state also meant the weakening of the institutional support for women’s public roles (Dupree, 1998).

War Economy under Soviet Occupation and the Soviet-supported Najibullah Regime

During the Soviet occupation (1979-1989) the bifurcation of Afghan society and economy became even more pronounced, but a number of new phenomena also emerged:

    • dependence of competing leaders on opposing flows of politically motivated military assistance;
    • growing dependence of the population for subsistence on politically motivated humanitarian aid;
    • destruction of the rural subsistence economy through counter-insurgency;
    • rapid urbanization, including internal displacement to Afghan cities and the flight of millions of mainly rural refugees to camps and cities in Pakistan and Iran;
    • the consequent creation of refugee-warrior communities in Pakistan and Iran and of a region-wide Afghan diaspora; and
    • the rapid monetization of the economy.

These changes laid the basis for today’s regional war economy.

On one side, the state’s dependence on foreign aid and sales of natural gas became even more pronounced, but aid now came exclusively from the USSR and its allies. The state lost not so much control of (which it never had) but access to much of the rural areas. The state expanded the urban institutions under its control, and a larger proportion of the population depended on it not only for employment, education, and health care, but food as well. By the Soviet withdrawal, nearly all of Kabul’s food and fuel was donated by the USSR and distributed by the government through a coupon system. As men under government control were largely enrolled in the war effort, women’s civilian roles expanded rapidly in the Soviet-supported state civilian sector.

A different culture of dependency developed in the other sector of the society, with different social effects. Soviet counter-insurgency devastated the rural economy in much of the country (Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, 1988: 37). Rural trading networks were also badly disrupted, and food production fell by half to two thirds. The destruction not only impoverished the rural population but weakened the elites whose power depended on control of agricultural and pastoral resources. In some areas, notably the irrigated plains north of the Hindu Kush under government control, the government pressured the peasants to grow cash crops such as cotton and sugar beets for sale to government factories, increasing dependence on the state, as well as the role of cash in the economy (Rubin, 1995a).

Much of the rural population fled, largely to Pakistan and Iran, where it depended on international aid. (Urban employment was more easily available in Iran, where refugees were not confined to camps, and many local men were off fighting against Iraq.) In Pakistan, access to aid was largely controlled by the Islamic parties recognized by the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as recipients of US- and Saudi- supplied military assistance. The humanitarian aid thus funded a stable rear base for the mujahidin, just as the Soviet aid to Afghan cities constituted a stable base for the Soviet-supported regime. It was in these refugee warrior communities that Afghans also came in contact with the international Islamist groups, mainly Arab, who supplied both humanitarian and military aid, as well as fighters.

In these communities, as well as in rural areas in Afghanistan (whether under resistance or government control) women’s roles remained traditional or were subject to new restrictions. These restrictions resulted from both the insecurities of life in exile and a reaction against reforms associated with the disaster that had overtaken the country.

This segment of the population came under the control of two related elites: the mujahidin party leaders outside the country and the commanders inside the country. Both became important economic actors, displacing both the prewar state and the notables, mainly landowners, who had dominated village life. The party leaders were completely dependent on foreign aid initially, but some of them succeeded in turning it into personal fortunes. Some of these were invested abroad (in London real estate, Australian tire factories, etc.), but some was laundered into the regional war economy, especially into arms and drug trafficking and other forms of smuggling.

Within Pakistan, both officials of the mujahidin parties and Pakistani officers involved in the arms pipeline became rich. A considerable amount of cash was transferred directly through multiple channels to pay for the expenses of war, and there was never the slightest degree of accountability for these transfers. The humanitarian aid that supported the 3-4 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan also passed through many international, Pakistani, and Afghan hands before reaching its intended beneficiaries. Intermediaries of various sorts skimmed off cash and resold commodities. Profits from both the arms trade and the humanitarian business were laundered through various avenues, including the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the Dubai-based, Pakistani-owned institution that collapsed in 1992. But the arms pipeline itself was also porous. Arms were sold off at all stages of the pipeline by both Pakistanis and Afghans, feeding the existing large arms markets in the area.

The transport of the arms and supply of goods to the refugees directly expanded the existing infrastructure for smuggling and money laundering. While the arms were delivered to mujahidin parties by Pakistan military trucks (which were also used for smuggling on return trips), the arms and other supplies were then transported to the border region, and, where possible, into Afghanistan, by private trucks, the same fleet that was used for the drug trade and other smuggling, but which now expanded, thanks to the increased demand.

The basis for Pakistani-Afghan smuggling had long been the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA). Under this agreement, a variety of listed goods could be imported duty-free in sealed containers into Pakistan for onward shipment to land-locked Afghanistan. Much if not most of the goods were instead sold in smugglers’ markets (bara bazaars) in Pakistan. Many of these bazaars were located in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on the Afghan border, where Pakistani law does not apply. The trucks used in this lucrative trade were in turn converted for the arms and drug trade, which in turn made more money available for investment in smuggling linked to the ATTA.

This extension of the Afghan war economy was mainly located in Pakistan. Within Afghanistan itself, the main economic actors were the commanders. Contrary to some stereotypes, these commanders were by and large not the "traditional" (i.e. tribal or landowning) elites favored by the royal regime, which had been weakened by destruction of the rural economy, but a group of new elites that benefited from US, Pakistani, and Saudi policies of supporting only Islamist parties rather than the nationalist former elite (Roy, 1986; Rubin, 1995a). Some commanders originated outside the mujahidin party structures and launched local insurgencies initially relying on local resources: zakat and ushr (Islamic taxes) levied on agriculture, flocks, trade, and wealth, and "contributions" from traders and other wealthy individuals, as well as the plundering of government supplies. As the war intensified, however, commanders increasingly depended on foreign aid relayed by the parties, and subsequently they too became more autonomous from local society (Rubin, 1995a: 255-8).

The commanders sought economic strategies that would increase their autonomy from the party leaderships as well. In a number of areas far from the Soviet-controlled main roads they established bazaars selling items mainly imported from Pakistan and Iran. They also provided security to traders in return for tribute. Where possible they sought aid from Western or Islamic humanitarian organizations engaged in cross-border assistance from Pakistan. Such aid provided services and employment that increased resources under their control as well as their prestige (Dorronsoro, 1996). In some areas they pressured the peasants to grow opium, a cash crop they could tax. It was also during this period that the production of opium started to increase.

The production of opium was related to one of the major macro-economic changes induced by the war: a rapid increase in the supply of money, which, combined with the destruction of the much of the subsistence economy, induced an apparently large, if as yet unmeasured, monetization of economic and social relations, as well as hyper-inflation. The foreign supporters of the mujahidin supplied them with millions of dollars in cash, and the associated smuggling enterprises in Pakistan produced large cash profits that had to be laundered, but it is unknown how much of that cash ever entered Afghanistan, rather than staying in Pakistan or being sent elsewhere. The Kabul government, however, accelerated the emission of currency after the decision to withdraw Soviet troops. Not only did the government have to pay for expanded security forces, including militias recruited on a strictly mercenary basis, but it also lost its principal sources of revenue. Soviet aid declined, and natural gas revenues fell after 1986, due to poor maintenance and lack of investment, and ended when the Soviet troops left, taking with them the technicians who ran the gas fields. Money supply data published by the IMF shows that beginning in 1987 and until the fall of Najibullah the value of banknotes in circulation increased by an average of 45 percent per year. Observers spoke of food prices rising by factors of five or ten. The afghani rapidly lost value against the dollar, trading at 1000 to the dollar, or about twenty times the official rate, by the summer of 1991 (Rubin, 1995a: 153-64).

Such a situation created tremendous incentives to find cash-producing activities. Starting in 1987, after the introduction of Stinger missiles and the Soviet decision (still secret) to withdraw, and a consequent change in military tactics, roads became much more secure. Both trade and humanitarian assistance that had previously traveled by pack animal over mountain trails could now go by truck (SCA, 1988). Trade, including the import of goods into Afghanistan and the transit trade (smuggling) into the neighboring countries from both the Persian Gulf and the Far East via the trans-Siberian railway, and the drug trade increased. Ahmad Shah Massoud, the "Tajik" commander in northeast Afghanistan who built up the most extensive resistance organization inside the country, controlled the emerald and lapis lazuli mines of his native valley, Panjsher. He levied a tax on each shipment of gems. After 1984 or so, Massoud also apparently enjoyed a protection income from the Soviets: he allowed convoys from the USSR to pass by his area to Kabul unmolested in return for a share of their content. At the same time, smaller commanders could accept the monetary payoffs offered by Kabul without renouncing their local power or allowing government administration into their areas.

In those areas where it could be grown economically, opium was the main expanding source of cash incomes, for both commanders and the peasantry. In some regions of Afghanistan (the upper Helmand Valley in particular), the climate and soil combine to create the world’s highest opium yields. The ease of marketing opium made it an obvious target for taxation and predation by local power holders. Equally important, however, is that unlike any other crop available to the peasants, its cash value as an export was so certain that the buyers – commanders or international syndicates – would advance credit for it in advance of planting under a system known as salaam. The Afghan peasants receive a mere fraction of the eventual street value of the opium. In the provinces with the highest yield (Farah, Qandahar, Nimroz, Helmand), the income per hectare from opium is less than 2.5 times that from wheat, and in some it is substantially less than that (UNOCHA, 1997). But a peasant who plants opium can obtain a cash advance to see his family through the winter, even if the implicit annual interest rate in the salaam system (estimated at as high as 100 percent) substantially lowers the realized income. Opium substitutes for credit as well as income and is thus one of the few reliable alternatives to dependency on humanitarian assistance. As the opium is refined and moves up the supply chain, prices rise rapidly, so that more sophisticated organizations controlling opium bazaars or border crossing points (as opposed to just some rural areas) could realize much more substantial incomes.

As a result of these opportunities, commanders substantially expanded their autonomy from the parties, from Kabul, and from the local population during the period after the Soviet withdrawal but before the fall of the Najibullah government. Different commanders made different use of this new situation. A few (Massoud, Heart commander Ismail Khan) used these resources, as well as Western and Islamic humanitarian assistance, to build territorially based institutions inside the country. Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, the extremist then favored by Pakistani intelligence, used revenue from the drug trade to build up an enlarged military force based in Pakistan and south of Kabul. Others enriched themselves through payoffs, investment in trade, and predation, especially collection of arbitrary tolls on trade passing through their area. Battles broke out from time to time over control of key trade routes, in particular those used for the transport of opium. The war economy, like the political structure, remained largely fragmented among small, largely predatory actors each of whom maintained an interest in sustaining the chaos that permitted his predation. At the same time, the overall lack of security of both person and property blocked the expansion of even this criminalized economy.

From the Islamic State to the Islamic Emirate

The fall of the Soviet-supported government of Najibullah in April 1992 brought mujahidin groups, and in particular Massoud, to power in Kabul, but rather than establish a new form of state power that would provide the conditions for peacetime economic development, the new Islamic State of Afghanistan reinforced the growing pattern of regional-ethnic war economies embedded in transnational networks. Despite its name, the new power enforced virtually nothing Islamic, did not organize itself as a state, and covered only parts of Afghanistan. Networks in various regions spanned the borders. Pakistan supported and instigated attacks on Kabul by Hikmatyar and others, assuring that the authorities could concentrate on little but military affairs. An uneven pattern of regional consolidation partly replaced the previous fragmentation, but no power could create a national state or market. Massoud’s organizational power enabled him to occupy and hold Kabul (or most of it), but he could not extend his direct control beyond parts of the city and the northeastern region that constituted his ethnic base. The fall or defection of former regime forces to local mujahidin groups in the rest of the country effectively removed the last obstacles to warlordism and economic predation. Thus a partly new form of economic bifurcation developed.

Despite the change in power, the central state and its associated economy continued to develop in a way continuous with the past. Massoud and Rabbani did little to change the mores of Kabul except requiring women news readers to wear headscarves on television. As the city was gradually destroyed by the civil war partly incited by Pakistan, the bazaars became less lucrative. Civil servants were often unpaid. The UN and international humanitarian agencies stepped in to replace the USSR as the supplier of food for the most vulnerable, but the amount they delivered remained only about half the amount supplied by the Soviets (120,000 tons versus 250,000 tons of wheat per year). The blockade of the southern and eastern routes into the city by Pakistan-supported forces, first Hikmatyar and then the Taliban, impeded the commercial supply of food.

The printing of currency remained probably the single most important source of state expenditure. Banknotes printed first under contract in Russia and then by the American Banknote Company continued to be delivered weekly to the Rabbani government. The resulting devaluation of the afghani and inflation were so severe that the government introduced new currency notes. Under Najibullah the official exchange rate had been af. 50 to the dollar, and the largest bill was the af. 1,000 note. By the summer of 1991, the afghani was trading at about 1,000 to the dollar, and it continued to fall. The Rabbani government issued first a 5,000 and then a 10,000 afghani note. Each time it did so the currency fell further. Hikmatyar forbade the use of the af. 10,000 note in bazaars under his control. The former communist ethnic Uzbek warlord of northern Afghanistan, Abdul Rashid Dostum, had his own notes printed after breaking with Rabbani in January 1994. By September 1996, when Kabul fell to the Taliban, the afghani was trading at 17,800 to the dollar there. Furthermore, the afghani was worth even less (25,600/dollar) in Dostum’s de facto capital, Mazar-i Sharif, indicating the lack of a national market, a phenomenon that has persisted even though the Taliban now control Mazar as well.

This partial regionalization of the monetary economy reflected the regionalization of the real economy. Each region, controlled by a different warlord grouping, was more integrated with the neighboring state than with the rest of the country. The northern militias that had grouped themselves around General Abdul Rashid Dostum controlled the trade with the newly opened states of Central Asia through the bazaar of Mazar-i Sharif and the customs point at Hairatan. A variety of small commanders in Badakhshan, allied with some of the Islamic forces who had fled from Tajikistan, controlled the opium crop of Badakhshan, which moved north through war-torn Tajikistan with the help of corrupt officials and members of the Russian border troops and CIS peacekeeping forces. The Arsala clan (Haji Abdul Qadir and his brothers) was at the center of the commercial development of Jalalabad, profiting from Nangarhar province’s skyrocketing opium production and using the Jalalabad airport as a center for the import of goods from Dubai for smuggling into Pakistan in alliance with Afghan and Pakistani Pashtun truckers and the local administration of the NWFP. Herat under Ismail Khan turned into a boom town for trade with Iran and transit trade coming overland from Dubai (transported by the same trucking networks) and out to Pakistan by the southern route. Southern Afghanistan became the largest opium producing area of the country, possibly the world, as well as an entrep?t for the smuggling of goods into Quetta, some over land and some via the Qandahar airport. The continued prevalence of petty warlordism and continual infighting in the area, however, imposed high costs on traders in the form of tolls and tribute.

The independence of the Central Asian states transformed the economic stakes in Afghanistan. The oil and gas-rich Central Asian states, in particular Turkmenistan, saw Afghanistan as a possible pipeline route to connect them to world markets without having to reverse US sanctions against Iran. Pakistan saw commercial and political connections to Central Asia via Afghanistan as key to the development of "strategic depth" in its confrontation with India. Pakistan also needed natural gas, and the Daulatabad field in Turkmenistan, just north of the Afghan border, was well positioned to be connected to the Pakistan national network via a pipeline though Herat and Qandahar to Baluchistan. This, in turn, placed Pakistan in opposition to Iran, which aspired to be the outlet to the south for the resources of the entire Caspian region, both Central Asia and the trans-Caucasus. The US began to define a national interest in promoting the national independence and economic diversification of the Central Asian and Caucasian states, without relaxing its sanctions on Iran. Pipelines through Afghanistan would nicely meet both goals. Various companies, including the US-based UNOCAL, the Saudi company Delta, and the Argentine firm, Bridas, began negotiations with the Rabbani government and various de facto powerholders. Bridas paid the Rabbani government $1 million for a contract signed in January 1996 awarding it the right to the pipeline route (none of which was then controlled by that government). There were reports of payoffs in Pakistan as well. The pipeline projects have since languished as a result of political uncertainty and the turn of US policy against the Taliban as a result of their harboring of the accused Saudi terrorist, Usama bin Ladin, but some of the effects of early competition over pipeline routes have persisted.

Pipeline politics formed an important part of the strategic and economic context in which the Islamic Movement of Taliban arrived on the scene in October 1994. Significantly, the Taliban’s first major operation was to free a Pakistani trade convoy, led by an ISI officer, heading for Turkmenistan via Qandahar and Herat, along the projected pipeline route, from a blockade set up by tribal (Achakzai) militia, who were demanding exorbitant tolls. The convoy rolled on to Turkmenistan via Herat as the Taliban marched into Qandahar (Rubin 1995b; Maley 1998; Rashid 1998).

Nearly five year later, the Taliban, who have renamed the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, are the militarily dominant group in all regions of Afghanistan save the northeast, where Massoud and some local commanders affiliated with Rabbani hold out. Shia commanders still offer resistance in north central Afghanistan as well. To say that the Taliban "control," say, 85 percent of the country would be an exaggeration, but they have largely defeated or disarmed competitors, mainly local armed power-holders. The Taliban advance was partly accomplished militarily: with Pakistani assistance, they have built up the largest more or less centralized armed force in the country. But the accomplishment was also financial. Like Najibullah and the mujahidin parties before them, much of the allegiance professed to them was purchased for cash. In areas that are frequently reported to change hands between the Taliban and their opponents, the common change of events is the payment of a commander by one side or another, who then announces a change in allegiance. The Taliban captured Kabul after paying of a Hizb-i Islami commander (Zardad, in Sarobi) who blocked their advance up the narrow defile from Jalalabad.

The Taliban’s victory has permitted the consolidation of a number of phenomena that had been developing previously, namely the emergence of transnational trade networks of the Afghan regional diaspora, linked to smuggling and drug trading groups in the surrounding countries as well as to political parties, religious groups, and elements of the administration, especially in Pakistan (Rashid, 1998). On a smaller scale, northeast Afghanistan is becoming linked to Central Asia.

The key achievement of the Taliban is what they call "security," meaning above all the suppression of virtually all forms of predation by local power-holders, including tolls, banditry, and exaction of exorbitant tributes. Taliban officials often describe this situation by telling visitors they can now drive from one end of the country to the other even at night with a car full of gold, and no one will disturb them. This method of describing their achievement illustrates its important economic motivation, as well as the principal beneficiaries: those driving from one end of the country to the other with trucks full of valuable goods. The security provided by the Taliban has greatly reduced the cost of long-distance trade and provided the peasantry with greater confidence that they will enjoy the fruits of their labor. This is one reason for the rise in recent years of not only the transit trade but the production of both wheat and opium in Taliban dominated areas.

The provision of security of travel along the entire route from Torghundi, on the Turkmenistan border, through Herat and Qandahar, and out to Pakistan via Spin Boldak has opened a major corridor for the smuggling of duty-free consumer goods from Dubai to Pakistan and beyond. Some good are flown directly into the Qandahar airport for shipment to Pakistan. The content of this trade complements the smuggling taking place under cover of the ATTA and responds directly to changes in the latter. Driving from Qandahar to Farah in June 1999 along the main smuggling route, I noted that many of the trucks appeared to be carrying automotive vehicle tires and spare parts rather than the electronic appliances (televisions, video cassette recorders) I had heard so much about. I later learned that automotive parts had recently been eliminated from the list of goods eligible for duty-free import under ATTA, and that they were therefore being imported by this alternate route (Naqvi 1999).

A World Bank study estimates that this trade amounted to at least $2.5 billion per year in 1997, the first year after the Taliban capture of Kabul, equivalent to nearly half of Afghanistan’s estimated GDP and around 12-13 percent of Pakistan’s total trade. Diplomatic sources in Central Asia reported that truck traffic through Torghundi tripled within two weeks after the Taliban capture of Mazar-i Sharif in August 1998, so the figure now might be significantly higher. These figures exclude trade in illegal goods such as drugs and arms, which would also raise the figures significantly. This transit trade has provided an important mechanism for the laundering of profits from the drug trade.

The drug trade is also a major economic activity. In recent years Afghanistan has been the world’s largest producer of opium, with a harvest estimated at 2,800 tons of raw opium gum in 1998. While the farmers receive little for this crop, it sells for thousands of dollars per kilogram at the Afghan border.

The transit and drug trades are complemented by service industries. A network of fuel stations has grown up along the route to supply diesel to the trucks, and sources in Qandahar claim that these are controlled by members of the families of some important figures in the Taliban leadership. Qandahar itself now has several areas of the city devoted largely to parking for trucks and boasts several fuel stations itself, as well as shops and tea houses catering to the drivers. Much of the fuel, of course, is smuggled from Iran, where its subsidized price is approximately $0.03 per liter, considerable less than a soft drink. Many institutions in Iran, including Islamic foundations and major traders, are involved in this contraband.

The Taliban have this made a transition from localized predatory warlordism to a weak kind of rentier state power based on a criminalized open economy. The benefits of this new economic activity are evident in increased prosperity in Qandahar, Jalalabad, and Herat. The trade also appears to have shifted more toward the Taliban’s home base in Qandahar. Kabul, seen by the Taliban as the center of corruption, and key to the national, not regional, economy, has largely been left out and is experiencing increasing poverty. The population of Kabul is more dependent on international humanitarian assistance, when it is available, than other areas of the country, but this aid does not seem to play an important role in legitimating the Taliban domestically, as Kabul is not part of their political base.

This increase in economic activity has provided the Taliban with a more stable source of domestic revenue than other armed groups. The World Bank study cited above (Naqvi, 1999) estimates that the Taliban derived at least $75 million in 1997 from taxing Afghanistan-Pakistan trade. The Taliban also levy zakat (an Islamic tax to fund ulama and jihad) of 20 percent on the trade in opium and opium derivatives, perhaps yielding revenues of as much as $100-200 million per year (Rashid, 1999). The funds raised in this manner do not go to the Taliban government in Kabul but to a war treasury controlled directly by the Taliban leader, Mulla Muhammad Umar, in Qandahar. In addition, the Taliban also request special contributions from the truckers when funds are needed for an offensive (Rashid, 1999). The Peshawar and Quetta trucking associations were key financial backers of the Taliban, as they greatly profited from the latter’s abolition of predatory tolls and raids along the road. According to some reports, it was these trucking interests more than the Pakistani ISI and military who urged the Taliban to capture Herat in September 1995. The truckers also donate significant sums to the madrasas, a traditional way for the newly rich to legitimate their wealth and attain respectability in Muslim societies (Rashid, 1998).

The official budget in Kabul is paid for by direct foreign aid from Pakistan (Rs. 500 million or about $10 million in 1998), and a few taxes from Kabul itself. Until late 1998 the Taliban also received direct financial assistance from Saudi Arabia, which provided subsidized fuel, as well as cash grants. These were ended in protest over the Taliban’s failure to expel or curb Usama bin Ladin. Bin Ladin himself is reputed to have put some of his wealth at the Taliban’s service, paying, according to some reports, for the capture of Kabul in September 1996. It is not known how much income the Taliban may still derive from supporters in the Persian Gulf, though their leaders tour mosques there and raise what appear to be significant contributions, especially in the UAE (some from Arabs and some from expatriate Afghans active in the transit trade).

Interestingly, the Taliban have not begun printing their own currency, though they now control the head office and all major regional branches of Da Afghanistan Bank (the central bank). Banknotes apparently continue to be delivered to Afghanistan from American Banknote via the Massoud-Rabbani forces, and the Taliban continue to recognize these notes, despite their protest against this funding of their enemies. From the Taliban capture of Kabul in September 1996 to May 1999, the afghani lost about 60 percent of its value against the dollar in Kabul and over 70 percent of its value in Mazar-i Sharif. The Taliban have forbidden the use of "Dostum" currency.

Hence unlike all previous governments, the Taliban cannot finance their operations through the printing press, while their opponents can undermine their finances by printing money. Taliban banking officials state that they recognize the Rabbani currency because he was the ruler ("padishah") of Afghanistan and that they do not wish to undermine national unity by circulating two national currencies. In practice, since the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate is recognized by only three countries (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), all of which have their own banknotes printed abroad, the Taliban would probably be unable to obtain professionally printed notes.

Transnational Networks

The network of groups supporting the Taliban illustrates the intertwining of economics, politics, and religion in the region. The Taliban are a transnational movement led by Afghans but organizationally present in both Afghanistan and Pakistan primarily through a particular sectarian network of madrasas and political parties (Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i Islam) belonging to the Deobandi movement. This movement, named after a town in northern India where conservative ulama established a madrasa in the nineteenth century, was founded to combat Islamic modernism, and, in particular, reforms in Muslim education. Unlike Islamic revolutionaries, Deobandi activists oppose blending Islamic concepts with modern institutions or political ideologies and favor little more than the imposition of a rigid interpretation of sharia.

The Afghan leadership of the Taliban receives key aid (capacity building) from Pakistani intelligence and military officers and recruits troops and staff from both sides of the border. About 25-30 percent of Taliban troops are now estimated to be Pakistani volunteers, mostly recruited from madrasas and political groups, not the Pakistani military. These fighters are increasingly organized in separate groups, as are groups of Arabs and other international supporters.

The religious and political networks are in turn are supported by trans-border economic networks (consumer goods smugglers, drug traffickers). These have close relations not only with the Taliban but with the local administration in Pakistan, where the goods are sold in smugglers’ markets (Rashid 1998). The transit trade and drug trade thus erode the integrity of the Pakistani state. Given that country’s fiscal dependence on customs duties and sales taxes on luxury goods, the toleration of such a large black market is a significant contributor to Pakistan’s financial crisis (Naqvi, 1999). Attempts to impose fiscal discipline in Pakistan, which would harm the economic base of the Taliban, languish from the effects of both ISIs. Such measures are opposed not only by Pakistani constituencies, including smugglers, that have formed around the effects of the import-substitution industrialization trade regime, but by the security services, including the other ISI, that want to strengthen the Taliban. For instance, some Pakistani economic technocrats proposed reforming the ATTA to require payment of duty upon entrance of goods into Pakistan, which would be refundable at the point of entry into Afghanistan. When the Taliban refused the first proposal, the Pakistani state made no further effort to press the issue. And yet the country continues to receive disbursements from an IMF Extended Fund Facility.

The economic networks involved extend beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan now appears to be the second largest trading partner of the United Arab Emirates (along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, one of the only three states that recognize the Taliban regime). This reflects the purchase of duty-free goods in Dubai by Afghan traders shipping them onward for smuggling. Afghan traders dominate the grain trade in Dushanbe, and Persian is becoming more common even in the Pashto- and Hindko-speaking bazaar of Peshawar. The northern-based opposition also benefits from the drug trade and smuggling (including the gems of Panjsher).

The drug and arms trade have brought international organized crime into the region. Though over 90 percent of the opium is grown in Taliban-controlled southern Afghanistan, increasing portions of it are smuggled northward, partly under the control of the Russian mafia. Russian organized crime groups have been involved in Afghanistan for years. They are important as arms suppliers for Massoud and as middlemen for opium exports. One major export route goes from territory controlled by Massoud and Rabbani in the northeast across the Tajikistan border, where some of it is transported by Russian troops and border guards to Osh, Kyrgyzstan, which has become a major transshipment point. The money involved in the drug and arms trades is undermining state institutions throughout Central Asia and is also affecting Russia.

The burgeoning long-distance trade, both criminalized and criminal, provides the economic underpinning of a new type of political power in the region. The decision of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the US to supply massive quantities of weapons only to religious parties rather than to Afghan nationalists who might challenge Pakistan, followed by Pakistan’s post-1994 support specifically for Deobandi networks, combined with the resources produced by this trade to allow a group of ulama to control the state apparatus directly or the first time in history. The Taliban do not represent a qawm (solidarity group) or an ethnicity, despite the dominance of Qandahari Pashtuns in their leadership. They represent not just a partisan faction but a social group, the privately educated, rural ulama and their students affiliated to the Deobandi movement. This network covers all rural parts of the country inhabited by Sunni Muslims but was marginalized and encapsulated by 100 years of statebuilding and the creation of new elites in partnership with the rulers. For the past 20 years various factions of these new elites, educated in Afghanistan’s state institutions and in the West and the USSR, have busied themselves killing, arresting, and exiling each other with the help of foreign powers. Meanwhile private madrasas offered the only education available for Pashtun refugee and rural boys after 1978, since the West did virtually nothing to provide modern education for them. The consequent growth of the madrasas reinvigorated the Deobandi network. It lost, however, its ties to the khan-dominated local economy and society that had circumscribed its power. Both the state and the rural economy that had strengthened the khans collapsed. The Deobandi ulama became reinvigorated and more autonomous in exile and in warlord-dominated Afghanistan, resulting in their becoming more extremist and deracinated than was traditionally the case. In exile they also became linked to international networks, both political and economic. The replacement of the khan-dominated subsistence and local-trade economy by a warlord-dominated commercial agriculture tied to long-distance contraband provides this newly armed elite with the opportunity to mobilize resources to exercise power directly, as it never did before.

The domination of the central state, or what is left of it, by this previously marginalized group has effectively reversed the pattern of social, political, and economic bifurcation developed under the royal regime and intensified under the communists. The capital city is now ruled by a force from the countryside, which is attempting to reverse the past decades of reforms. The Taliban have not used the resources they can mobilize to rebuild much of the state’s administrative apparatus and, as noted, have not printed money to finance their operations, as did Najibullah, and as Rabbani and Massoud still do. Most (two thirds, according to one senior Taliban official) of the funds of the Islamic Emirate go to the war effort. Civil servants’ salaries are derisory (e.g. $5 per month) and are paid infrequently in any case.

Nor have the Taliban as yet shown interest in a development strategy. A few foreign businessmen have started ventures in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, mostly tied to the transit trade. These include a British-American venture into telecommunications, which will facilitate contact of Afghan merchants and truckers with suppliers and customers in Dubai and Pakistan, and a cement factory, needed for road repair. U.S. sanctions against investment in Taliban-controlled areas in July 1999 are unlikely to affect an economy that is already predominantly illegal.

The Taliban in power thus raise resources from foreign supporters and criminalized trade, which they use in turn to fight their opponents and impose the strict version of sharia, which consists largely of harsh prohibitions, rather than a positive vision of developing an Islamic society. The Taliban attitude toward the state reflects both the negative experience of the past 20 years, during much of which a central state dominated by a foreign ideology destroyed much of the country, and the longer-standing Afghan popular view of the state as a predator that takes from the people and gives little or nothing in return (Dupree, 1980). The annihilation of the state and the development and reformist agenda it had pursued under several governments also spells the end for now of the emancipation of urban women through decrees by modernizing male leaders.

Micro Political Economy of Conflict

In addition to the macro-economics of the conflict discussed thus far, socio-economic conflicts related to the war have also developed at the local level in ways that differ from region to region. The collapse and partial revival of the state, the destruction of assets, and the mass displacement and partial return of the population has created a growing crisis in property relations. The old regime in Afghanistan had established private property in land and pasture and used these regulations in favor of Pashtun nomads and settlers in northern and central Afghanistan. State protection of property in land also made possible the development of absentee landlordism in areas around major cities. In many areas landlords were better able to afford emigration or were enticed into the regime’s program of "national reconciliation," which promised state protection of their property and exemption from land reform, while tenants and the landless stayed to fight in the jihad – and for the land of those who sided with the regime. Property relations changed greatly over the years of war, and the advent of the Taliban, a largely Pashtun group professing support for private property, is changing them again.

Nomadic sections of Pashtun tribes such as the Ahmadzai formerly moved their flocks into the high mountains of Hazarajat during the summer. The nomads, whose mobility gave them a natural vocation as traders, also had more access to cash and acted as bankers for the local peasantry, who were often heavily indebted. The revolt of the Shi’a Hazaras against the communists in 1979, however, was also a declaration of autonomy from the Pashtun-dominated Sunni Muslim state. Since that time Pashtun nomads have been unable to use pastures in Hazarajat or collect their debts. Hence a number of the tribes that formerly migrated there have given their support to the Taliban reconquest of the area. According to some reports, the "Taliban" troops investing Hazarajat from the south were largely Ahmadzai nomads aiming to get their pastures back. More recently, armed young men from Pashtun nomadic tribes have returned to Hazarajat with the intention of collecting twenty-year old debts.

Similarly, the fertile lowlands on the edges, particular the north, of Hazarajat, are inhabited by largely Tajik (therefore Sunni) populations who were also favored by the state against their Shia neighbors. These groups lost land and other assets to the Hazaras over the past 20 years and now form the base of Taliban support in these areas. As Bamiyan, the center of the Hazara-controlled areas in central Afghanistan, changed hands in early 1999 from the Taliban back to the Shia parties and then back again, both Hazaras and Taliban recruited from among local Tajiks engaged in several rounds of burning homes, killing, and expelling populations in a pattern similar to ethnic cleansing. This may well have been due as much to local conflicts that became articulated with the national one as to the latter alone.

Pashtun nomads also lost pasture on the northern steppes such as Dasht-i Archi in Kunduz, and Pashtun landlords lost control of their agricultural lands in these areas. Some of the these dispossessed forces were recruited into Najibullah’s "national reconciliation" program (especially Pashtun landlords who had been local dignitaries under the king but who had been dispossessed by "mujahidin" recruited from the peasantry). Landlords around Herat and Qandahar lost control to their tenants. In other areas the wealthier landlords were better able to afford the journey abroad and therefore were more likely to become refugees. In such cases local ulama often allotted use of their land to the families of mujahidin or martyrs. As people return from exile, they demand their land back, sometimes taking disputes to Taliban courts. All of these transformations have created a rich field for property and monetary disputes, sometimes connected to ethnic, tribal, or clan conflicts, as well as class. The Taliban, in the guise of restoring lawful private property, seem to have used their authority to reward their supporters, which means certain tribes in some areas, Pashtuns in some areas, and Tajiks in others. More studies of local situations need to be carried out to understand the nature of local disputes. As overall security and stability returns, so do landowners and nomads, creating the ground for disputes that can undermine peace at the local level and provide recruits for new revolts.

Political Economy of Peacemaking

"Peace" could come to Afghanistan in many forms. It could, for instance, arrive in the guise of a victory by one faction, most likely the Taliban, or a melding or reconfiguration of existing armed groups, ending open fighting and transforming the criminalized war economy into an even faster-expanding criminalized peace economy. Indeed, whatever political group might take control of Afghanistan, the economic incentives for misgovernment are nearly irresistible. Only the drug and transit trade are really worth the effort of taxation, while the rest of the economy is hardly productive enough to make governing it worthwhile. It is difficult to recover the cost of more than a very sparse administration of such an economy and society. Such a political economy would leave the power holders as unaccountable to most Afghan people as they were under previous regimes. Most of the population would be left to fend for themselves, in conditions of greater security, but without a development agenda, public services, or reforms, notably in the status of women.

Such a peace would continue to threaten the region, as expanding drug trade, money laundering, and smuggling would undermine governance in several countries, strengthen Taliban-like forces in Pakistan, continue to pose both political and practical obstacles to international reconstruction assistance, and provoke a defensive reaction from Afghanistan’s other neighbors in Iran and Central Asia. The resulting tensions among and within states in the region would make such a peace elusive indeed.

A more challenging but, if successful, more rewarding alternative, is to consider peacemaking in Afghanistan as part of a larger problem, of transforming the political economy of a region. It has finally dawned on Europe and the United States that nothing less will work in the Balkans. There is no reason to think that Central and Southwest Asia will be a simpler problem. It would be premature to offer a full plan, which in any case is beyond my competence. The resources for such a project are also unlikely to be harder to raise outside of Europe. But I can offer a few suggestions as to what such a plan would have to accomplish.

No major institution has started planning for reconstruction of Afghanistan or involved Afghans in thinking about what such a process would involve. Even starting a serious international planning process conditional on a cessation of hostilities and observance of minimal humanitarian and human rights principles (the right of both sexes to available education and health care) might affect the current dynamic of conflict. Local actors now assume that no aid for reconstruction will be available however they behave. It is not surprising that they find it relatively easy to dismiss international professions of concern about Afghanistan and their own behavior.

Aid for reconstruction of Afghanistan should be decided upon and disbursed in such a way that it build reciprocity between state and society and make the former more accountable to the latter. For instance, programs aimed at replacing opium poppies would also have to find alternative sources for financing state activities (Rashid, 1999). The existing economic actors would have to be drawn into alternative forms of activities from which they could realize reasonable profits that they could enjoy more easily than the perhaps larger but illicit ones of today.

The international private sector could also be involved as a source of funds. Today positions on the proposed pipeline and other potential international investments in Afghanistan are polarized around attitudes toward the Taliban. Those who favor confrontation or boycotting them oppose such investments, while Taliban supporters and some in favor of engagement with the Taliban support them. The pipeline, in particular, which requires an investment of $2.5 billion, at least half of which would have to be financed externally, is stymied by political opposition and, potentially, US sanctions.

A more creative solution might find ways to finance the investment while reducing the risk that it would fund the war. Could, perhaps, financing be offered, on the condition that the rental income go not to any armed group, but to a fund for community development and reconstruction? This would resemble the arrangement currently in operation for overflight fees. Airlines crossing Afghan territory on long-distance flights pay such fees into a Swiss account managed by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). The funds are held in trust for spending on civil aviation requirements deemed necessary by IATA (AFP, June 29, 1999). Perhaps such a fund from pipeline incomes could be administered by an international organization under a board including the major political groups as well as prominent Afghans and technical advisers, Afghan and international. Naturally the problem of fungibility would have to be addressed.

The current dysfunctional regional political and economic relationships would also have to be changed. At the moment Pakistan’s actions in Afghanistan are the result of semi autonomous groups within the state and society pursuing their goals. The civilian prime minister does not fully control the military, parts of the intelligence services may be freelancing, and provincial governments deeply corrupted by links to smugglers openly refuse to implement central regulations. The result is a set of policies in Afghanistan that could deeply threaten Pakistan itself. Pakistan in effect promotes economic practices that destroy its own budget due to a combination of internal corruption and the imperatives, as the security services see them, of covert action in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Pakistan needs to develop the institutional basis for articulating a national interest that would unite both economic and security concerns, as well as the welfare of its own people. Articulation of such a national interest would also favor more equitable relations with Afghanistan. Pakistani businesses could benefit from legitimate trade with Afghanistan and even more from its reconstruction under international auspices. Representatives of Pakistani businesses that stand to benefit from contracts for the reconstruction of Afghanistan also should be involved in the planning process. They constitute a significant support base for the Pakistani civilian politicians, and might help shift the balance of interests toward legitimate business interests in Afghanistan.

Greater financial discipline and accountability in Pakistan would be key to this process. This far Pakistan’s fiscal crisis has been seen largely as a country-specific problem, but it is central to the decay of state institutions and governance throughout the region. A comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of Afghanistan would also have to include significant reform in Pakistan to transform some of the destructive links between the two societies. The ATTA would have to be reformed as part of a general change away from the high duties of an import substitution regime toward the legal institutionalization of the greater openness that exists de facto outside the law.

This in turn would be virtually impossible to sustain in a region with such wide disparities in trade policy. International institutions should work with the regional powers toward something approximating a customs union which would both make legitimate trade more attractive and reduce incentives to smuggling. Greater cross-border cooperation and confidence building measures with Iran might also help reduce regional tensions and create a common stake in rebuilding the country.

The drug and arms trades present particularly difficult obstacles. The Taliban have recently agreed to rather stringent crop-substitution programs in some of their core areas. But such programs will only be sustainable if the economy of Afghanistan and the region begin to offer more alternative sources of livelihoods, especially to young people, and if a transformed economy can provide alternative sources to finance the state.

Most important is working with Afghans to change the image and role of the state, seen largely as a distant and indifferent if not hostile power. Local power structures that have largely grown up as defensive measures of self-rule to keep the state or powerholders away have to be incorporated into official structures of planning and service provision. It is unlikely that any central power will find it worthwhile to provide localities with much in the way of governance and services. For this very reason, Afghanistan needs a decentralized governance structure in which provinces and localities receive authority to tax and plan in consultation with local shuras (councils). In the past local societies developed unofficial power structures to shield themselves from the state, rather than participate it, and the centralizing mentality shared by the Taliban and much of their opposition reproduces that past pattern. Instead, modest local resources under local control could be directed into locally accountable planning processes rather than a dysfunctional central state. The central state will still be needed for provision of basic security and dispute resolution, but a clear division of labor among levels of governance will promote greater accountability over the reconstruction process.

The disintegration of the state creates such potentials, though the criminalized economy that has filled the gap in providing livelihoods has created interests that will resist it. But unless peacemaking can appeal to the interests of powerful economic actors and transform them into agents of peace, it will be limited at best to halting fighting in one place before social and economic forces provoke it once again elsewhere in this dangerous region.


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