Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Stephen Zunes

Second Advisor

Quynh M. Pham


When people have a fundamental issue at stake, giving in is not an option. For these types of conflict, when people’s rights are being violated, when their countries are occupied, or when they are oppressed and humiliated, they need a powerful way to persist and fight back. Oftentimes when people are left with no choice they will use the terrible and destructive nature of violence. For decades nonviolent resistance (NVR) movements have been associated with Gandhi and Martin Luther King, but people have been using nonviolent action for years. In fact, NVR has been a part of political life for millennia. From the time of 11th-century conqueror Mahmud of Ghazni to Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pakistan born proponent of nonviolence, to social change created by modern Afghan women's resistance groups, nonviolent revolution has been a part of the rich history of the Kingdom of Afghanistan (Pal, 2002 & PBS News Desk, 2021). Historically there have been numerous case studies of groups that rose to challenge corruption by authorities, demand social reforms, and demonstrate against violent and authoritarian regimes.

The following thesis aims to focus on the historical antecedents of the Afghanistan government and use comparative research of violence and nonviolence both in and out of the country. Data from foundational research in the field of nonviolence will be used to support the claim. This is used to both understand the ongoing oppression and direct evidence gathered to understand actions that have pushed back against these rules. The data collection organizes evidence of acts of nonviolence and civil resistance in the country. The data gathered will be organized into qualitative and quantitative graphics. Qualitative data can be broken down by category and attributes of the nonviolent tactics used and quantitative data aims to translate these to maps and charts to show where and how effective these campaigns are over time.