The insurgency in Afghanistan has grown in its scope since 2003. While many scholars attribute the extremist Islamist ideologies of the Taliban and al-Qai'da as the primary motive of the insurgency, the attached paper argues instead that their motives are political and economic. Extremist agendas exploit the lack of development in Afghanistan and take advantage of the informal economies, such as the opium economy, to capture political capital.
Using both historical evidence and statistical analysis, the following research shows that the insurgents exploit four distinct opportunities through three different economic types to capture political space in three distinct aspects of the insurgency.
Jared Stancombe is an analyst for a US government agency responsible for national security and a national security intern at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC. He is also in the United States Marine Corps officer candidate selection program and hopes to serve as an infantry officer. Stancombe graduated with honors from Indiana University.