Some reflections on the pursuit of 'Peace' in Afghanistan: 'Never send to know for whom the wars end

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In 2021, the shambolic US exit from Afghanistan and the collapse of the Afghan government captured world attention, albeit briefly. Yet the Taliban movement that seized Kabul was the same Taliban movement with which the US on 29 February 2020 had signed an ‘Agreement for the Bringing of Peace to Afghanistan.’ These events throw into relief an important question: when the end of a war is proclaimed, for whom is it ending? This chapter argues that an image of wars with neat ends is not useful in making sense of complex interventions in environments marked by a proliferation of armed non-state actors, and by ‘creeping invasion’ of one state by another. It also argues that conceptions of ‘victory’ can distract attention from what may be the more realistic but also more difficult objectives of holding the line and avoiding outright defeat. It argues that in this kind of situation, the quest for a ‘negotiated peace’ can run the risk of producing the exact opposite. And it suggests that for the people of Afghanistan, ‘war’ is likely far from over.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHow Wars End
    Editors Damien Kingsbury, Richard Iron
    Place of PublicationLondon- United Kingdom
    ISBN (Print)9781003317487
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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