Since 2001, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan has been gaining momentum in a civil war characterized by the growing politicization of private conflicts. By establishing courts, the Taliban have managed to override the social and identity divides apparent in private disputes while striving to objectivize the armed movement and the national scope of its cause. Through their accessibility for the population and their proven effectiveness, the Taliban courts have enabled the insurgency to expand its social base across ethnic and tribal boundaries. The Taliban case suggests that in a situation of civil war, the establishment of judicial institutions is a component in a strategic repertoire and that the ability to judge is a decisive factor for an insurgency seeking to establish itself as a political authority against competing claims to appropriate the state’s monopoly.
Special Report: Neither War nor Peace
The Taliban Courts in Afghanistan (2001–2013)By Adam Baczko