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Title: Lions of Marjah : why Marjah's militia combats violent extremists
Author: Clark, Howard
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 0383
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This study uncovers the motivations of the indigenous counter-violent-extremist movement in Marjah, a village in southwest Afghanistan, between 2009 and 2013. Furthermore, it elucidates how the international and central government security forces allowed and enabled this grassroots anti-Taliban militia. The thesis submits that the fighters rose up and defeated Taliban because of selfdetermination- describing the townsmen’s ultimate goal of village autonomy as well as their self-sufficient actions. Self-determination acted as a centre of gravity that drove fighters to struggle and die to eradicate local violent extremist elements. The Afghan government and outside militaries allowed this independence, unlike the Taliban, and thus became the militia’s welcome partners instead of enemies. After introducing the history of traditional Pashtun militias in southern Afghanistan and then in Marjah specifically, the paper tests three hypotheses: whether and how much the 1) need for stability, 2) antipathy towards a foreign ideology, and 3) protection of tribalism may have factored into the motivations for this movement. From interviews with over a quarter of the civilian guardians in 2011, unpublished unclassified and declassified reports, and notes from observers, this study assesses that stability, hatred of an alien ideology, and nationalism—not tribalism—were rallying cries for the movement. However, self-determination, not originally postulated before field research, served as the central theme underpinning these other drivers and acting as the main master narrative. The findings of this single case study may be an early look at a burgeoning discipline in counterinsurgency and stability operations investigating similar movements worldwide.
Supervisor: Farrell, Theo Gerard; Neumann, Peter Rudolf Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available