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Despite vast efforts to build the state, profound political order in rural Afghanistan is maintained by self-governing, customary organisations. Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan explores the rules governing these organisations to explain why they can provide public goods. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and observations from dozens of villages across Afghanistan and statistical analysis of nationally representative surveys, Jennifer Murtazashvili demonstrates that such authority enhances citizen support for democracy, enabling the rule of law by providing citizens a bulwark of defence against predatory state officials.