Economic impediments to a Taliban peace process


  • James Weir University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Hekmatullah Azamy Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies



Taliban, peace process, insurgent motivations, crime–terror nexus, insurgent economics


An important question underlies the potential for a successful peace process in Afghanistan: If political negotiations between the Taliban leadership and the Afghan government succeed, will fighters in the field cease their activities, especially illicit funding practices, and accept government legal authority? Interviews conducted in early 2014—well before the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death or the appearance of Islamic State in the region—indicate that a wide gulf separates the motivations of low-level insurgents from their leadership’s ideological objectives. The rank and file fight for multiple reasons, the most significant of which is the financial advantage of association with the movement. Recent studies of the economics of insurgency describe a crime-insurgency-terror nexus that applies to the contemporary Afghan context, albeit requiring adjustment to account for the distinctive political circumstances and wartime history of Afghanistan. [D74, F51, F52, O53, Z10]

Author Biographies

James Weir, University of Hawaii at Manoa

James Weir has a PhD in cultural anthropologist and is currently cofounding the Afghanistan Research, Consultancy and Cooperation Organization (ARCC), based in Kabul. He has done work on Afghan life stories and politics dynamics in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. He can be reached at

Hekmatullah Azamy, Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies

Hekmatullah Azamy is research analyst at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS), a Kabul-based independent and policy-oriented think-tank, where he conducts research on peace, security and development studies. He can be reached at


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How to Cite

Weir, J., & Azamy, H. (2015). Economic impediments to a Taliban peace process. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 10(2).




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