Language: English | فارسی

Trust is the Coin of the Realm Lessons from the Money Men in Afghanistan

Edwina A. Thompson
Published Date:
Hardcover 372
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US$ 45
Afs. 2925
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Following a new US administration entering office, and revision of strategies for international support to Afghanistan, Trust is the Coin of the Realm fills an urgent gap in the debate on how to make a ‘bottoms-up’ approach to state-building work. Academic, press and policy accounts suggest the current ‘top-down’ paradigm is inappropriate to the task; none, however, appears to offer the kind of rigorous insights necessary to understand why. Based on extensive field and archival research into the workings of ‘hawala’—an ancient financial system operating throughout the Muslim world, accused of bankrolling the bulk of today’s terrorist operations, but central to development in fragile states—this book shines a rare light on local-level institutions in Afghanistan and tribally-controlled areas of neighbouring Pakistan.

Important dynamics emerge around the legitimacy of externally-imposed change in complex humanitarian and stabilisation environments; the bargain of foreign aid and financial regulation; and the challenge of how to reconcile broad models of state-building with specific and unique contexts. Parties with the strongest hand are proven to be those typically considered to lie at the margins: they are most able to win the trust of the local population, and by association accrue legitimacy. Trust is the Coin of the Realm indicates that the future reconstruction of Afghanistan hinges on whether the international community can engage genuinely with indigenous socio-economic networks like those of the ‘money men’, for it is trust that emerges ultimately as the ‘coin of the realm’, not only in the bazaar, but also against the backdrop of counter-insurgency and state-building efforts within the region.

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