Afghanistan has been at the centre of global attention for a quite long time, due to its political affairs. The country recently witnessed the reemergence of the Taliban after US-led international coalition forces left the country ending a two-decade-long war, which paved way for multiple domestic conflicts in the country and a wide range of other geopolitical events that are shaping the course of politics in Asia.
Afghanistan’s political history has been shaped by various factors, including religion, economics, geography, and ethnicity. Ethnicity, on the other hand, has a distinct influence on politics among these groups. The fall of the Afghan Republic in August 2021 was partly due to two decades of ethnocentric politics in Afghanistan.
After the U.S. involvement, the country’s young democracy saw considerable changes, primarily in the behaviour and structure of its parties, which hampered the Government’s hopes of achieving a political settlement. A more elite-centric political paradigm emerged at this time. For centuries, Afghanistan has been plagued by constant conflict, invasions, civil wars, and ethnic purges because of its strategic location and geopolitical significance in the region.
It is essential to know and recognize heterogeneity in Afghanistan. The population comprises Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aymak, and various other minority groups. Each Ethnic Group possesses a distinct identity, as they are members of ethnic and linguistic groups.
Every individual introduces himself with a set of personal identity demonstrating his relationship, gender, occupation; in Afghanistan, every person’s essence is indicated by a series of belongingness like an Islamic community member, regional group member, and family member. In ethnic groups of Afghanistan, there lies a sense of sameness and unity and equality with people within while a sense of inequality and separation with those who are not of their Group or outside their boundaries.
Ethnic as well as religious identities of ethnic groups of Afghanistan are relational and contextual.
The one major thing that contradicts each other is subjective and objective self-hood. In Afghanistan, various aspects of ethnicity showcase rivalries between a person and an objective self-hood. Each ethnicity possesses ancestry or genealogy about the genesis of their identity. For example, Pashtun clans of Afghanistan and Pakistan have a common ancestor, Abdul Rashid Qais, who maintains a Pashtunwali social code that defines their roles and traditional mother tongue Pashtu. There is no agreement on their genesis. Still, they firmly claim to be the native population of Afghanistan. As they view themselves as natives of Afghanistan, they claim other ethnic groups as individuals who started living in Afghanistan in different times of history but assuredly appeared after their ethnic Group.
On the contrary, other ethnic entities abandon the claim of Pashtuns of being natives of Afghanistan. They disagree amongst themselves and thus carry their genealogy of claiming natives in Afghanistan. Some Hazaras think that they do not belong to the TurkicMongolian ethnic Group, as Pashtuns claim, but are the Kushan Empire’s descendants. The latter is famous for building Buddha Statue in Bamyan province in 350 A.D.
As per Avesta, Zoroastrian book, Hazaras have claimed that they are natives of Afghanistan. These subjective claims of self-hood by ethnic groups are never-ending in Afghanistan. However, various scholars state that this genealogical myth for every ethnic group is not uncommon. However, it is requisite for a country and an ethnic group to live. However, four significant aspects of these claims showcase the main concerns in this study. Each ethnic entity claims to be the natives of Afghanistan in their historical context.
Every ethnic group denies agreeing to each other. Members of one ethnic Group disagree with the respective Group on the genesis, emergence, and history formulation. Ethnic as well as religious identities of ethnic groups of Afghanistan are relational and contextual. The claims that exist in Afghanistan with ethnic groups matter a lot as identities are ‘knowledge situated’ that needs a cognizance of the history, politics, and society, and attributes that caused and sustained ethnocentric politics in this country over time.
When the Taliban controlled the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan in 1994, they utilized their Pashtun ethnicity to legitimize their Group between the Pashtuns and crushed the opponents of other ethnic groups like SunniTajik and Uzbek by using the same essence. Their political actions were influenced by their ethnicity and religious identity against the Hazaras. They were interpreted as non-believers by Taliban interpreters. It is significant to know how context the identities are utilized to understand individuals’ or groups’ behaviour.
Ethnocentrism in Afghanistan somehow shows some similarities with Sudan, Iraq, and Kosovo as familiar to several ethnic, religious, and social groups.
Ethnocentrism in Afghanistan somehow shows some similarities with Sudan, Iraq, and Kosovo as familiar to several ethnic, religious, and social groups. Still, the features are required to be analyzed and recorded instead of being assumed. The significant disparity between countries like Sweden and Sudan is their capacity as the State. Sweden possesses strong central authority, while Sudan has a weak central power. A robust central authority’s significant features are regulating society, social relations, providing resources, and effectively using them. Can describe a weak state having a weak institution, low in providing resources, ineffective policy measures.
The bonds between state and society are relatively weak in people’s belief of oppressing and exploiting the State. No such national communities exist, and the majority of the population is not included in Government. A weak state cannot provide security and cannot manage the affairs. It always faces internal instability and interference from outside powers. People find local networks for their survival instead of believing the bureaucracy of the State. The Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras make up most of the country’s ethnic population. These organizations have a significant role in shaping the country’s economic and political landscape.
If we look at the past decades, The Pashtunization of Turkistan, Hazarajat, and Tajikistan started when the nation became a political entity under Ahmad Shah Durrani, a Pashtun king. As a result, non-Pashtun people were routinely oppressed by Iron Amir Abdurrahman Khan’s ethnocentric administration between 1880 and 1901. After a century, the Taliban’s extremism under the Pashtun-dominated dictatorship of Iron Amir revealed itself harshly in 1992-2001.
To war-torn Afghanistan and repressed ethnic minorities like Uzbeks and Harazas, the fall of the Taliban due to the “war on terror” and the rise of democracy presented a new window of opportunity. Since then, many excellent things have occurred, like opening school doors for women, allowing certain political rights regardless of ethnic, religious, or gender background, and conducting elections. No one in post-Taliban Afghanistan seemed to care about ethnic politics, however. They were unable to set up a government that was racially balanced and inclusive.
The political elites of the Bonn Conference pushed on keeping a single person-run strong centralized government model instead of adopting a power-sharing state.
The political elites of the Bonn Conference pushed on keeping a single person-run strong centralized government model instead of adopting a power-sharing state. As a result of the Taliban’s removal, Afghanistan has had presidential and parliamentary elections since the regime’s fall. Elections were ethnicized because of the adoption and maintenance of a tribal attitude in an ethnically split society. Furthermore, ethnic meddling in elections resulted in modern-day Pashtun dominance. Like the pre-Taliban period, the effective relationships amongst ethnic groups have influenced most of the political developments during post-Taliban Afghanistan.
It has already been discussed that the fall of the Taliban regime occurred due to U.S. military responses towards the incidence of 9/11. The non-Pashtun ethnic Group developed the Northern Alliance supported by the U.S. played an essential role in defeating the Taliban during 2001. After the fall of the Taliban regime, it raised a question about Afghanistan’s next ruler. There was the requirement of an internal settlement of politics amongst the number of ethnic groups of Afghanistan.
It was challenging to bring all the ethnic groups together to ensure an internal building of the State. Because of long-time conflicts and wars, they did not get an opportunity to meet and get together without any outer mediation. By considering this issue, Lakhdar Ebrahimi was appointed by the U.N. as a U.N. representative with full authority to hold political ventures of U.N. – Afghanistan. Various regular meetings were held amongst the Afghan blocs.
If we see Afghanistan’s political history, only males of Pashtun have been seen dominating the empire.
The Bonn Conference (2001) offered the main crux of formulating politics amongst Afghan delegates. This Conference was the initial step towards building a nation-state in Afghanistan. It provided a meaningful dialogue to the political settlement amongst the Afghan representatives. The U.N. hosted the Conference, further supported by the U.S. and Allies.
The Conference was able to bring together several ethnic groups, including Northern Alliance, Pir Gailani’s Peshawar Group, Zahir’s Rome Group, and Houmayon Jareer’s Cyprus Group. The delegates from Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek Ethnic groups were sent by Northern Alliance which Tajik, Yonus Qanooni, led. However, Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghanistan’s president, shifted to Kabul’s presidential place when the Northern Alliance group took control of the city, unwilling to attend the conference, phrasing that every decision regarding the future must be taken inside the country of Afghanistan.
The Rome entity was a part of the Pashtun Group, sincere to Zahir, showcasing the power of the Durrani tribe in Post-Taliban Afghanistan. The Cyprus entity was a part of exile Afghans truthful to Iran. In contrast, the Peshawar entity represented Pashtun’s trustworthiness towards Pakistan. Such entities at the Bonn Conference showcased a continuity of ethnocentric politics and foreign groups’ interference while shaping Afghan society and politics. On the other hand, the Conference proffered an opportunity to represent Afghan women.
If we see Afghanistan’s political history, only males of Pashtun have been seen dominating the empire. They invited Afghan women to the Conference, though their number was less. Still, their presence marked a gender proportion to Afghanistan’s ethnocentric politics. Before Conference, understanding the nature of ethnocentric politics without the involvement of women of Afghan was possible. However, during the Post-Taliban era, gender-oriented ethnocentric politics initiated strengthened women’s identity and goals in Afghanistan’s political settlement.
Just because of the non-availability of a political agreement between several ethnic groups, the Conference was uneven. Abdul Haq, an eminent Pashtun member, and Karim Khalili, a Hazara member, put forward their dissatisfaction with the conference results. It failed to showcase their interests they left the Conference. Then the Uzbek Chairperson, General Dostum, refused to be a part of the Conference.
Due to various eminent Afghan members’ individualistic opinions, the conference was considered on the verge of disintegrating at this phase. Despite such provocations, the Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan was duly signed by Afghan delegates on December 5, 2011. The accomplishment was made successful by the vigorous efforts of Zalmay Khalilzad and James F. Dobbins, the representatives of the U.S. at the Conference.
The AIA-Afghan Interim Administration, a non-government interim, evolved out as an outcome of the Bonn Conference. The Conference’s matter hovered around the significant issues: The next difficulty was the selection of Interim administrative members. A common perception existed amongst Afghan and other countries’ delegates that the chairman should be a Pashtun. The agreement showcased the historical supremacy of the Pashtun ethnic entity in the country of Afghanistan.
The difference in opinion originated on whom should be trusted amongst the delegates of Afghan. As Abdul Haq successfully united the Pashtun and Mullah Omar, he was considered the best. Abdul Sattar Sirat, a trustworthy Pashtun towards King Zahir, was another selected member. He condemned the Northern Alliance for their movement towards Kabul and grabbing power of the presidential palace too. Hence, Hamid Karzai, belonging to the Durrani tribe and a non-delegate Pashtun, was considered the Interim Administration’s Chairman.
This praise of Mujahidin groups in the Bonn agreement made them forget their destructive roles in Afghans’ civil wars during the early 1990s.
The Mujahidin’s praise and supremacy of leading ministers by the Tajik’s greatly influenced Afghanistan’s political development. This praise of Mujahidin groups in the Bonn agreement made them forget their destructive roles in Afghans’ civil wars during the early 1990s. In an attempt to bring justice, Afghanistan is still required to be dealt with its history of conflicts, war, and hatred. The praise of Mujahidin in the Bonn Agreement obstructed the evolution of any fruitful efforts towards national appeasement. It also led to the fabrication of separate governments. The Government was divided based on distinct ideas of ethnic groups amongst the Afghan leaders and Mujahidin.
For many years, Afghan leaders were not present in the country. They started logical justification, which showcased their capabilities while emphasizing the explanations of Mujahidin with defiance of former groups against the Soviet Union. The Afghan leaders were putting their efforts just because they possessed more skills to develop the State’s laws and institutions. From the viewpoint of ethnocentric politics, the segregation between the members was fully predicted and expected. The supremacy of leading the ministries of Tajik ethnic groups worsened the situation of division amongst the members.
The Tajik supremacy was not accepted by Pashtuns, even Hamid Karzai and other leading Pashtuns. The Pashtuns of East and South felt too much deprecated in the interim authority. The various Political segregations showcased the constancy of ethnocentric politics from Pre to Post-Taliban Afghanistan. It can be illustrated through the unsuccessful efforts of the novel interim management to fabricate a trustworthy relation amongst the number of ethnic groups. A lack of development in political aspects has been seen in Afghanistan. The elections of the president in 2004 and 2009, which emphasized a great success that never experienced prior, proved to be the political space for the rivalries of ethnic groups.
In the president’s elections in 2004, a Pashtun, Hamid Karzai, got the victory against Tajik and Hazara delegates. Following the constitutional procedure, on January 4 2004, the draft Constitutional Loya Jirga was approved. On January 26 2004, the President-in-Office of the Council signed and released it officially. The 2009 presidential elections observed the same results despite false claims by the number of delegates, including Hamid Karzai and Tajik candidates. The outcome of both elections of president revealed two significant points.
The community of citizenship of Afghanistan is still in its juvenile stage.
The community of citizenship of Afghanistan is still in its juvenile stage. The people showed more inclinations towards their ethnic entities. It is just due to the history of wars and conflicts still prevailing on the minds and thinking of people. In such scenarios, they believe that voting for their ethnic group member would benefit them from their members. Thus, the sentimental decisions and a link towards respective ethnic entities still influence Afghanistan’s political, developmental choices.
The evolving interest in ethnic groups overpowered the process of building of State in Afghanistan. It resulted in a lack of any developmental policies in the Karzai leadership. It becomes a matter of criticism. The countries considered Donors, including the US, Britain, and NATO members, wanted the Karzai to resolve corruption and improve the State and the institutions. Afghanistan was named NARCO state by U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton and phrased that it is affected by corruption and in-capabilities.
After being elected the president in 2009, the pressure was exerted by U.S. President Obama and British PM Brown to generate a sensible institution that can solve illegal issues involving drugs and develop strong security by elaborating government efforts towards peaceful living. Due to the lack of policies put forward by Karzai leadership, many people felt discouraged as various issues were a matter of concern, including security, electricity, peace, and education.
Other than the Afghan state system, other significant players were considered the main actors in Afghanistan, such as Non-Governmental Organizations.
Other than the Afghan state system, other significant players were considered the main actors in Afghanistan, such as Non-Governmental Organizations. NGOs played an essential role in Afghanistan. However, they were supposed to be lacking appropriate coordination but performed crucial administrative functions in the country. Believed them to offer services for Afghan people and undermining the role of government ruling in the centre. Afghans started relying on NGOs rather than the central Government to get their demands fulfilled.
The NGOs, on high wages, hired the most experienced people as well as professionals. The drawback for this was that government agencies remained understaffed or they hired relatively low-skilled staff. Due to these factors, state-building was considered to be as poorly framed. The elimination of the Taliban from the Bonn agreement resulted in the revival of the Taliban in 2005. The Taliban regime fall developed a presumption that would not entertain their presence anymore in the Bonn conference.
The Taliban was able to reorganize their delegates in Pakistan to abort the procedure of state-building in Afghanistan. The pressure created by the Taliban altered the position of the Government. The security of Afghanis and the central State’s stability was threatened by them once again.
The members of Internet-based Afghan civil society have a widespread sentiment too. The civil society of Afghan comprises distinct groups that have played a vital part in documenting several political issues since 2001. They have also written various critics against Karzai’s leadership. It was declared by Hazrati, 2009 that the Karzai government reflects the low culture of the tribe. They emphasized that the Karzai government is also responsible for deterioration as the Taliban group.
The tribe culture preferred many disturbances in violence, rivalries amongst ethnic groups, and sheer poverty that undermined the evolution of state-building.
The tribe culture preferred many disturbances in violence, rivalries amongst ethnic groups, and sheer poverty that undermined the evolution of state-building. Instead of reinforcing the democracy and robust system, they focused on the re-formation of domination of Pashtun in Afghanistan. The Civil society of the Afghan utilized the modern tools for communication, for example, the Internet.
The significant benefit of using this contemporary technology is that the message can be sent anywhere rapidly and significantly less cost to the number of people in Afghanistan and worldwide. The major disadvantage noticed was that some uneducated and inexperienced people were side-lined from society as they did not know about the Internet. It resulted in new social segregation in the country in the form of Internet-oriented.
The afghan Group was branded as an Internet-oriented Afghan group, best demonstrated by Burhanuddin Rabbani, Afghanistan’s former president and the warlord of Mujahidin named Facebook groups. They represented a novel social category and deepest social segregations among people who do not access internet services. It showcased a deep generation gap too amongst the society people.
They tried to develop a leader from their co-ethnic entities that highlighted the potential to get them united. Ahmad Shah Masoud, Abdul Ali Mazari, and various other leaders were considered the leaders. The formulation of leaders possesses the potential to get the members of the different ethnic groups united. As the leaders lacked national legitimacy, this exacerbated social segregation. In the history of ethnocentric politics, a common sentiment has been shared that the insiders are perfect and the outsiders are imperfect. Among distinct ethnic groups, used guns to be social segregations between the several ethnic groups.
When both Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah claimed victory in the run-off round of the 2014 election, Afghanistan was on the precipice of civil war. John Kerry, then Secretary of State, struck an agreement with then-President Ashraf Ghani to put Abdullah in charge of the country’s economy. Ahmad Zia has been designated as the President of Afghanistan’s Special Representative for Reform and Good Governance. After a series of conflicts with the president, he was sacked in 2017. Various political party members are forced to confront one another rather than just following their party lines. More than his predecessor, President Ghani was a firm believer in the need for a well-organized central authority.
Like President Karzai, and possibly even more so, Ghani had selected his inner-circle team from various political groups for short-term goals.
Like President Karzai, and possibly even more so, Ghani had selected his inner-circle team from various political groups for short-term goals. After the 2014 election standoff between Ghani and Abdullah, the Afghan Unity Government (AUG) created more controversy than ‘unity’ among the elites. Indeed, the AUG has been considered to have been “everything than unified” in its mission. There had been several disagreements.
Ghani and Abdullah disagreed, for example, on whether or not they should include the ethnicity of Afghan nationals on the National ID card. However, Ghani’s first tenure was not solely characterized by political splintering. In particular, according to a poll by the Asia Foundation, 87% of the Afghan populace believes that corruption is their most significant personal concern.
Furthermore, President Ghani estimates that more than 45,000 Afghan militaries died between 2015 and 2019. Ghani used the tried-and-true tactic of pulling and pushing to try to prolong his reign. Ghani’s collaboration with former Jamiat member Amrullah Saleh in the 2019 election campaign exemplifies the old techniques dominating the campaign. Another tactic Abdullah and a few other candidates who shared his concerns against Ashraf Ghani was to build fresh coalitions with individuals who shared similar issues.
An agreement between Afghanistan’s main political groups may have given the Afghan Government’s negotiating position with the Taliban a significant boost at a critical juncture. Even though Abdullah and Ghani took the oath of office on March 8, 2019, Afghan society and the political landscape were more fractured than ever, as seen by their sagas. Reach A deal between the Taliban and the United States. At the same time, Abdullah and Ghani remained in Government, and Abdullah became the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. “The US-Taliban pact” was promoted as a “roadmap to peace in Afghanistan” by the United States and the Taliban.
In truth, the pact gave the Taliban more political clout while also helping them acquire military superiority, allowing them to consider themselves a powerful political force. He argued for months before the settlement that he was the one who started the peace process and that the nation could not have peace without his continuous efforts. The Taliban were engaging with various Afghan political elites in neighbouring countries, but Ghani claimed that such conversations were pointless since they circumvented his administration.
At this time, Ghani was accused of compromising the peace effort for his political survival by his rising number of adversaries. However, the Taliban’s top officials remained determined that Ghani must go during their talks with the U.S. and Afghan political elites.
When it came to Ghani’s relationships with other political leaders, the first test of the US-Taliban accord was the release of 5,000 Taliban detainees by the Afghan Government. Taliban negotiations with Kabul had been conditioned on their release from jail after their historic accord in the United States. The Taliban, on the other hand, rejected President Ghani’s demand for an early ceasefire.
As a consequence of Ghani’s unwillingness to free the inmates and his feuds with local political elites, the United States government cancelled $1 billion in funding to Kabul, a move that was unusual at the time. Despite President Ghani’s assurances that the decrease would not damage his administration, several high-ranking politicians have expressed grave worry, particularly given that the vast majority of U.S. funding to Afghanistan has gone toward security.
Afghanistan can be described as a weak institution, low in providing resources, and ineffective policy measures.
In August 2020, and after some reluctance, President Ghani, while releasing 4,600 detainees, asked for a Loya Jirga to decide on the fate of the remaining 400 convicts. Afghanistan’s political landscape was once again upended as a result of this event. Ghani’s choice was roundly criticized by the political establishment, which also chose to abstain from the ceremony. Even said that the president hid behind the Jirga to make such a significant decision. U.S. diplomats warned that the Afghan Government might face a Taliban attack if President Ghani continued to imperil the peace process, something that most Afghan political elites had already accused him of doing.
With the election of Vice President Biden, the US-Taliban agreement underwent a sea shift that affected the peace talks between President Ghani’s administration and the Taliban and the power dynamics in Afghanistan’s political establishments. President Biden announced the complete withdrawal of the U.S. military from Afghanistan in April 2021. This revelation tipped the scales in favour of the Taliban in their conflict with the Afghan security forces.
Political elites were frustrated with President Ghani as he started making significant and frequent reforms in the security sector. According to reports, many warriors surrendered to the Taliban, even though erstwhile influential leaders like Ismail Khan and Atta Mohammad Noor enlisted their troops to fight against the Taliban. According to William Maley, some elites have allied themselves with the Taliban in the past not because they support or admire the organization but because they believed the Group could overthrow the current regime. It was once again evident that the Taliban’s offensive splintered the Afghan political landscape.
As a result, several high-ranking officials, such as Karzai, Abdullah, and Khalili, put more significant effort into negotiating an agreement with the Taliban. Without an overarching plan in place, Ghani and his inner circle used propaganda to manage the battle. Several factors contributed to the Taliban’s takeover of key cities in Afghanistan, including a lack of plan and backing from foreign troops. On August 15, Taliban insurgents stormed Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani left the nation, bringing an end to Afghanistan’s 20-year-long Republic.
Nature and causes of ethnic politics in Afghanistan
It has had a weak state and a weak central authority and the predominant relationship amongst the rulers and weak legitimacy by the rulers. Various scholars have witnessed “neither the community of citizenship nor the community of sentiments” flourish in a weak central authority. So in Afghanistan, ethnocentric politics lead The social, legal, and political relations to become weak, and national identity fails to thrive. The prevalence of the widespread culture of poverty is an outcome of the weak central authority of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan can be described as a weak institution, low in providing resources, and ineffective policy measures. The bonds between State and society are relatively weak in people’s belief of oppressing and exploiting the State. No such national communities exist, and the majority of the population is not included in Government. Afghanistan’s weak State cannot provide security and cannot manage the affairs. It always faces internal instability and interference from outside powers. If we consider Afghanistan’s political history, external manipulations can be treated as the dominant features. Various global powers’ interference, including Tsarist Russia, Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States, Iran, Pakistan.
The geostrategic geography of Afghanistan in Central Asia is considered to be the main factor for external interference. Including the geostrategic position in Afghanistan, its weak central State and internal divisions also create favourable external interference conditions in political actions. The pursuance of political activities rooted in Afghan people’s ethnic and tribal identities is an outcome of its weak central State and widespread cultural poverty. Afghanistan’s people rely on local networks for security and survival.
Political rivalries are dominated by local networks like the tribe, clan identities. These reduce the tightened bonds of rights and responsibilities between the State and people. In this scenario, a moral economy persists in Afghanistan. Instead of relying on state institutions, afghans rely on relatives, clans, and tribes to get jobs, pay school fees, and offer daily expenditures. In Afghanistan, which is considered a weak state, the moral economy dominates over time. It offers social insurance in the absence of state welfare programs. The prevalence of the widespread culture of poverty is an outcome of the weak central authority of Afghanistan.
Both material and non-material dimensions are the elements of the culture of poverty. There is profound inequality in income amongst the rural and non-rural and the elite class from Material dimensions.
The population is detached from state institutions and boasts a sense of hopelessness, fear, and fear of poverty and being discriminated against. They are belligerent to the government institutions and fearful of trusting the police.
As a multi-ethnic state, Afghanistan was internally flexible until the 1978 socialist revolution, which changed its social fabric because of ideological conflict.
External powers influence the policies of weak states like Afghanistan. If we consider Afghanistan’s political history, external manipulations can be treated as the dominant features. Various global powers’ interference, including Tsarist Russia, Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States, Iran, Pakistan. The geostrategic geography of Afghanistan in Central Asia is considered to be the main factor for external interference. Including the geostrategic position in Afghanistan, its weak central State and internal divisions also create favourable external interference conditions in political actions. The pursuance of political activities rooted in Afghan people’s ethnic and tribal identities is an outcome of its weak central State and widespread cultural poverty.
As a multi-ethnic state, Afghanistan was internally flexible until the 1978 socialist revolution, which changed its social fabric because of ideological conflict. This conflict has invited external actors to participate in the bipolar world. This conflict continued until 1992, even after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops. By transforming an ideological conflict into an ethnic one, the Mujahidin, who had become new rulers of the state rent by battle, sparked the fire. Taliban has substituted Mujahedin, but national cohesion has also not brought about their religious orthodoxy. The long-standing conflict directly impacts the national and individual lives and the Afghan people’s ability to work with each other.
To date, there has been no attempt to achieve national cohesion and integration. Political and ethnic entities always have lost their motive to cooperate and rebuild their institutions and economy. Distinct groups or leaders do not trust each other. It is still the legacy of the protracted war.
Afghan ethnocentric not purely internal, but regional and extra-regional players have also been active in it. This time international community has developed a more robust policy to achieve national stability and peace. Afghanistan’s internal vulnerabilities have historically encouraged international intervention. The 1980s and 1990s rounds of fighting have destroyed the State. In the post-Taliban era, they could recover from the destruction with foreign aid. However, new leaders also resolve their rivalries let foreign help transform into another round of traditional political power. Internal fighting of the last two decades perpetrated by all sides’ ethnic rivals and forced displacement would make the task of rekindling the flame of nationalism more difficult.
The Government should take some practical steps to overcome the condition of poor state-building. There is a need to construct effective policies that would increase state-building and unite the principal entities involved in promoting ethnocentric politics in the country. Political rebuilding is a necessary prerequisite for the economic recovery of the State. It is Afghans to learn from the past and make some tough choices. It can only enhance the process of nation-building and unity by abolishing the Government’s corruption activities. Also, the lack of resources is contributing towards poor state-building and development of the State.
Proper strategies should be implemented to fulfil the needs of resources required for state-building. Equality and distribution of power to the local level can help in attaining national unity and cooperation. To win their friendship and cooperation, Afghans have to decide which direction to follow, which allays immediate neighbours’ fears – Pakistan and Iran, as will other global power.
(Heela Hakimi specialises in international relations majoring in Peace and Diplomacy. She worked in the Parliament of Afghanistan and the consulate department of the Chinese embassy in Kabul.)
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Autofintechs.com. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)