Analysis

“Negotiating Survival” Book Symposium –Glancing at the Taliban Organisation

Negotiating Survival is an outstanding piece of scholarship. The book is the latest addition to a (relatively) recent, fieldwork-intensive, wave of civil war research that is interested in how rebels rule areas under their control (see, for instance, Mampilly 2011, Arjona et al. 2015, Stuart 2021). More specifically, the work fits within a particular strand of this rebel governance literature …

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“Negotiating Survival”: Book Symposium – The Normative Dimension of Rebel Governance in Afghanistan

Ashley Jackson’s book, Negotiating Survival: Civilian-Insurgent Relations in Afghanistan, is an important contribution to the way we understand armed insurgency. It challenges a vision of the absolute centrality of kinetic violence in insurgency to draw attention to the significance of more subtle power dynamics between rebels and the civilian population. In its approach, in its focus, and …

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“Negotiating Survival” Book Symposium – Living together in the “forever war”: Negotiations among civilians and insurgents?

Ashley Jackson’s Negotiating Survival: Civilian-Insurgent Relations in Afghanistan provides a brilliant account into the daily struggles that people encounter amid prolonged violence and precarity. Drawing on multi-sited field research in Afghanistan (2017 – 2019), involving interviews with over 400 informants, the book examines negotiations made among insurgents and civilians to survive. Jackson introduces a novel theory of …

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“Negotiating Survival” Book Symposium – From Insurgency to Government in Waiting: Taliban Tactics and Strategy

Introduction With ‘Negotiating Survival’ Ashley Jackson has written an extraordinary account of insurgent-civilian relations in Afghanistan. Amongst others, it traces the evolution of the Taliban insurgency after the Taliban regime was ousted from power in 2001. The book builds on a unique and rich set of empirical data collected during Jackson’s fieldwork. With the fall …

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“Negotiating Survival” Book Symposium –Dancing with whoever is there: civilian agency, neutrality and the principle of distinction

Ashley Jackson’s fascinating book ‘Negotiating Survival: Civilian –  Insurgent Relations in Afghanistan’ (Hurst 2021) forms part of an important contemporary effort in political and social science literature to turn away from privileging the study of combatant behaviour in war, looking instead more closely at civilian perspectives and responses. The book focuses on the relationship between the Taliban and …

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“Negotiating Survival” Book Symposium – Lessons and Questions for Humanitarian Access in Violent Contexts

Ashley Jackson’s extraordinary book, Negotiating Survival, is a fascinating dive into the complex interactions that characterize relationships between civilians and members of armed groups. In the last decade, understanding how armed groups interact with people under their influence has become a central topic in the study of civil war. While a growing body of research references negotiations …

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Book Symposium “Negotiating Survival: Civilian–Insurgent Relations in Afghanistan”: Introduction

I finished the proofs for Negotiating Survival in the late spring of 2021, just as the Taliban mounted a sweeping offensive across the north of the country. I had spent years researching the insurgency, documenting all of the ways in which it was laying the ground work for this moment. It was disorienting to see …

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Making sense of a duty for non-State armed groups to provide reparations

Reparations by non-State armed groups: why does it matter? Exploring whether and how non-State armed groups (NSAGs), as collective duty bearers, might contribute to reparations for their violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) might appear far-fetched to some or even controversial to others. However, recent developments show that the present-day realities of armed conflicts – …

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Peace Treaty Symposium: A Reaction to Mark Freeman’s Post

I want to start by saying that I have always maintained that international law should be a tool rather than an obstacle to peace negotiations; particularly in a world where there are still more that 74 non-international armed conflicts across 25 countries. But if we look at international law today, this is not exactly the …

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