General Abdul Raziq is one of the more prominent cases of the warlord paradox shaped by the U.S. state-building agenda in Afghanistan. Labeled by some as a warlord and others a hero, Raziq is the reigning police chief of Kandahar province, with a near mythic stature. Foreign support and celebration of Raziq may say more about the U.S. commitment to short-term centralization of power than investment in long-term civil institutions in the developing world. As politicians, practitioners, and academics, continue to contemplate the last 15 years of foreign intervention and state building, particularly as the debate regarding the West’s role in Syria and Iraq widens, it is important to recognize that liberal intervention in conflict-ridden countries is bound to find strange bedfellows with unsavory leaders.
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“Kandahar’s Enforcers Fight Evil with Brutality,” with Ahmad Waheed, Foreign Policy, February 2016.