Political Leadership in Afghanistan

Identifying and Assessing Determining Factors

by Ahmad Rahmani

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Afghanistan is a country where national institutions are weak, if they exist at all. Any socio-political change is initiated and enforced through strong political initiatives exhibited by unique individuals with charismatic leadership capacity. Even after the end of Afghanistan's isolation in 2002, and excessive foreign investment in building institutions, many experts believe that the process has not lived up to expectations, partly because Afghans tend to mobilize around individuals and do not treat institutions seriously. This study takes those beliefs as a starting point and explores the factors that lead to a political leader in Afghanistan being defined as "good," "strong," or "popular" — as well as what needs to be done to improve political leadership for future generations, given cultural consensus on characteristics of good political leadership.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two


  • Chapter Three


  • Chapter Four

    Definition of Leadership

  • Chapter Five

    Characteristics of Leaders

  • Chapter Six

    Expectations from Leaders

  • Chapter Seven

    Identity of Political Leaders

  • Chapter Eight

    Main Findings & Policy Implications

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in January 2016 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Terrence Kelly (Chair), Gery Ryan, and Thomas Szayna.

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