Author Biography

Kathryn M. Lambert is an Associate Professor of National Security Studies at American Military University. She has a PhD in Political Science from Temple University. Her research interest focuses on violence against civil society.



Subject Area Keywords

Afghanistan, Political violence, Religious violence, Taliban, Terrorism / counterterrorism


International NGOs (INGOs) operate in insecure environments where they provide life-saving services to the world's neediest populations. This study examines the impact of organizational attributes and activities on INGO vulnerability to insurgent attacks in Afghanistan. The study operationalizes three organizational attributes: 1)sustainability, measured by the organization’s longevity; 2)perceived independence from the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), measured by whether the INGO operated in Afghanistan before or after September 11, 2001; and 3)religiosity coded as secular, faith-inspired, or faith-based. In addition, the study operationalizes three INGO activities: 1)type of gender-focused activities and programs of each organization; 2)transformational advocacy, measured as promoting democracy, women empowerment, or women’s rights in Afghanistan; and 3)level of exposure to violence in Afghanistan, measured by the number of provinces in which the organization operated. The study uses a matched sample design with a 1:2 ratio. Each victim INGO is matched with two non-victim INGOs by year and province. Matching INGOs on these two factors lessens the impact of structural and environmental factors, such as insurgent control of territory, in the analysis. Binomial logistic regression identified one organizational activity, level of exposure, and one organizational attribute, sustainability, as predictors of attacks against INGOs.


I thank the anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of my manuscript and their insightful comments and suggestions.