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Timothy Nunan

The Anti-Colonial Origins of Humanitarian Intervention: NGOs, Human Rights


The decade-long Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989) does not usually figure into conventional narratives of precedents for humanitarian interventions. When the Kremlin opted to dispatch a “limited contingent” of tens of thousands of soldiers to liquidate the erratic leadership of one wing of the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan and replace it with another wing, it was to protect the prospects for socialism within what Moscow understood as its sphere of ...

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Timothy Nunan


Timothy Nunan is a Freigeist Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is the author of Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) as well as the editor and translator of Writings on War (Cambridge: Polity, 2011), a collection of Carl Schmitt’s writings on international law. He received his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in 2013. At present, he is engaged in two projects: an edited translation of M.S. Andreev’s 1926 ethnography of Afghanistan; and a second book-length project examining the entanglement of the Cold War with the rise of Islamic sectarianism in the Middle East.