Members of Afghan Local Police (ALP) hold their weapons during a graduation ceremony in Laghman province October 20, 2012. One hundred and sixty Local Police (ALP) graduated in Laghman province on Saturday. REUTERS/Parwiz

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Lessons from Afghanistan and Mexico for prosecuting security policy through proxies

July 21, 2015, Vanda Felbab-Brown

Vanda Felbab-Brown explores the security and political effects of militia forces in Afghanistan and Mexico, as well as government—and in the case of Afghanistan, also U.S.—policies for managing or using them. She explains how despite policy efforts to control and direct the militias toward the purposes of the state, their buildup has created long-term problems for security, rule of law, and state legitimacy. She also argues that militias make for highly unreliable allies, readily defecting from their overseers’ intent and objectives and being easily manipulated by local powerbrokers.

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