The re-establishment of the Afghan state after the fall of the Taleban regime is proving a more complicated task than was originally expected. By mid-2003, press reports abounded about the resurgence of the Taleban, the permanence or even the strengthening of the warlords and the lasting influence of Islamic fundamentalists. While there is no denying that progress in the first 18 months of the post-Taleban period was modest indeed, a picture of complete stagnation would be misleading. Hamid Karzai and his circle of pro-western allies within the transitional administration, who identify themselves as the bearers of the interests of the central state, have been carrying out a slow but steady confrontation with the main warlords, trying to limit the warlords' power and increase their own. Because of Karzai group's limited resources and the unwillingness of its international patrons to commit much of their own, this has not been an open confrontation. There have been no decisive clashes, rather an ongoing arm-twisting over the balance of power within the administration and within the state. The confrontation is far from over and the future role of the warlords remains to be determined. Examining the background and the character of these warlords therefore appears all the more urgent. Is it useful to assume that they share the same aims? Do they have the same potential?
Giustozzi, A. Working Paper No.33. Respectable Warlords? The Politics of State-Building in Post-Taleban Afghanistan. (2003) 22 pp.