Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2013

Document Type



Mujaddidi, Ghulam Farooq. 2013. "Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan: Why Now?," MA Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Political Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Patrice C. McMahon. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Ghulam Farooq Mujaddidi


Why, contrary to their predecessors, did the Taliban resort to use of suicide attacks in the 2000s in Afghanistan? By drawing from terrorist innovation literature and Michael Horowitz’s adoption capacity theory—a theory of diffusion of military innovation—the author argues that suicide attacks in Afghanistan is better understood as an innovation or emulation of a new technique to retaliate in asymmetric warfare when insurgents face arms embargo, military pressure, and have direct links to external terrorist groups. The findings of my in-depth case study of Afghanistan between 1978 and 2010 support the proposition and show that it was an arms embargo, coupled with what I call military pressure, and a direct link to an external terrorist network that made the Taliban resort to the use of suicide attack in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Adviser: Patrice C. McMahon