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Local Politics in AfghanistanA Century of Intervention in the Social Order$
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Conrad Schetter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199327928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199327928.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022



(p.1) 1 Introduction
Local Politics in Afghanistan

Conrad Schetter

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter sets out the book’s purpose, which is to provide an understanding of local politics in Afghanistan. It identifies two major obstacles to investigating local politics in Afghanistan: the problematic generalisation of local structures; and the biased worldviews of the external analyst. The chapter criticises how the academic discourse on failed/fragile states has produced a distorted picture of local politics; instead of trying to understand the rationalities of local politics, it emphasises the deficiencies of local institutions and practices. On the other hand, when the local level is revealed as the key to understanding Afghan society, it fails to take the plurality of local politics into consideration. Of particular relevance is the country-insurgency (COIN) strategy that has dominated the military intervention by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 2009. While this approach aims to understand local life worlds in a better way, it still believes in a one-size-fits-all strategy that fails to give credit to the contextualisation of the local. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   local politics, Afghanistan, counter-insurgency, COIN, NATO, military intervention

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