Courtesy Reuters

One would be hard-pressed to find a news article or editorial on the Afghan election that did not mention the word "legitimacy." Success in Afghanistan, it has been repeated ad nauseam, hinges on winning popular support through governmental legitimacy, with elections crucial to that process. Yet if that were true, why has the Taliban been so effective at gaining supporters? Mullah Muhammad Omar has not organized elections, nor has he enacted the "reforms" Westerners demand of the regime in Kabul, such as the inclusion of diverse groups in the government.

The short answer is that in Afghanistan how power is

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.