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26 September 2011,

Mafia-nation: State capture by criminal syndicates

On September 26th 2011, Rediff published a Gateway House interview with Sara Chayes, who has spent the last decade living in and reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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Gateway House interviews Sarah Chayes, Foreign Press Club and Sigma Delta Chi award-winning former reporter at National Public Radio, on the anti-corruption and democracy movements around the world as a response to governments turning mafia syndicates.

Chayes reported from Kandahar from 2001 on, and has lived there since, building civil society institutions, authoring a best-selling book, The Punishment of Virtue, Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban, founding a cooperative that produces luxury skin-care products for export (, and advising the US military on Afghan governance as well as the Arab Spring, among other topics.

The Afghanistan project started out in 2001 with great optimism and hope about checkmating the Al Qaeda’s brand of terrorism, as well as rebuilding a nation. Ten years later, has that fructified as planned?

It seems to me that there have been significant concrete gains against the physical manifestation of Al Qaeda terrorism, not the least of which the localisation and killing of Osama Bin Laden.


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