'Informer-Phobia': Understanding the Fear Factor in Crime and Terror-Related Information Disclosure in Afghanistan

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Published in: New Wars, New Militaries, New Soldiers : Conflicts, the Armed Forces and the Soldierly Subject, edited by Kümmel, Gerhard and Joseph L. Soeters. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group


Purpose – This chapter aims to coin, unpack, and illustrate the concept and societal impact of informerphobia. This is the fear of people to report information on (threatening) violence and terrorism to the state agencies that are formally tasked to respond to these threats.

Methodology/approach – This chapter is a theoretical exercise, combining insights from general sociology, organization studies, military studies and the literature on good governance. The illustration pertaining to Afghanistan is based on previous fieldwork in the region.

Findings – The chapter points at the importance of having properly functioning state agencies that have to be flexible, decentralized, and truly bureaucratic in the Weberian sense of the word. In addition, a civic culture of ordinary people producing counterpressure is indispensable to make the state agencies more effective.