Issue

Fragile States

The balance of power between strong states was for decades the dominant issue in discussions of international security. But today, it is fragile states that are seen by many as posing potentially greater threats. Weak infrastructures, internal conflict, and lack of economic development provide fertile ground for trafficking, piracy, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, disease pandemics, regional tensions, and even genocide.

As a result, there is a growing movement in the international community to find comprehensive ways to promote stronger states, as well as more effective solutions to deal with those that are already on the brink of failure.

In Fragile States, you'll find reporting from around the world—from East Timor to Haiti, from Guinea Bissau to Afghanistan. The reporting demonstrates the dangers weak states pose—and also the international interventions that appear to be making a difference.

Fragile States was produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in partnership with The Bureau for International Reporting. Support provided by the Stanley Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Fragile States

Central African Republic: Hidden Heart of Africa

The Central African Republic is one of the last truly wild places on earth, a sparsely populated country that until recently remained quietly anonymous. So why did it descend into chaos?

When Militiamen Rule

Less than three years after independence, South Sudan collapsed into civil war. Thousands have died and famine looms on the horizon. Can rebel-leaders-turned-politicians lead the way to peace?

Afghanistan: Packing Up War

How do you turn the lights off on a war? Wars end when troops come home, but what happens to all the stuff?

Syria: Children of ISIS

How some of northern Syria’s children are being reared into a life of praying and jihad by a new kind of puritanical islamist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham.

The Karachi Circular Railway

An investigation of Karachi's urban development, tracing a defunct public transport route to explore stories about the city’s growth, its urban present, its rural past and its possible futures.

From "the Other Iraq" to Kurdistan

Today Iraq is consumed by sectarian fighting, but in the north the legacy of the US-led war is progress. Iraqi Kurdistan has autonomy, security, and oil. But what is Kurdistan beyond "the other Iraq"?

Warlords and Horsemen

In buzkashi, Afghanistan’s violent and ancient national pastime, riders battle for control of an animal corpse. It's still the best metaphor for the restive country's politics.

Meet the Journalist: James Fenton

James Fenton discusses reporting on President Duterte's violent war on drugs in the Philippines. The number of casualties in a 7-month period reached 7,000 following the president's election.

Meet the Journalist: Emily Gogolak

Emily Gogolak, from the field in Tegucigalpa, discusses her reporting on violence against women in Honduras and the deportations of mothers and children from immigration detention centers in Texas.

Meet the Journalist: Ewen MacAskill

Ewen MacAskill visits Villa Grimaldi, a secret detention center in Chile, while uncovering the story of Roberto Kozak, a diplomat who helped save 30,000 prisoners after the 1973 military coup.

Meet the Journalist: Lauren Markham

Meet Lauren Markham, a journalist reporting from El Salvador for the Pulitzer Center and VQR Magazine about the mounting violence in the capital city and prospects of meaningful change.