30 Aug 2018

Militias: a curse or a cure

A study on factors constraining militia behaviour in North-East Afghanistan

The public and the academic debates about the pros and cons of militias are beset with controversy and tend to ask in general terms whether militias do more good than harm or vice versa. The academic research on militias made significant progress in recent years. However, the conditions under which militias perform better or worse from the perspective of the civilian population are still not well understood.

Our paper sets out to explore the factors that contribute to a better or worse performance of militias with regard to civilian wellbeing. We use three waves of quantitative and qualitative survey data from North-East Afghanistan to test four hypotheses derived from our qualitative research. The four hypotheses relate to mechanisms which are expected to influence militia behaviour in the sense of making militias less threatening to the civilian population.


Basir Feda, Kristóf Gosztonyi, Jan Koehler


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