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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2022
More than seven years have passed since the intervention of the international community in Afghanistan, yet the country has not only failed to achieve stability; it has actually experienced a downward trend on that account. The worsening situation in Afghanistan has occurred despite the fact that the Afghan government and its international partners have allocated unprecedented amounts of resources, increased their security forces and implemented socio-political and economic programs that they deemed were conducive to stability. Why and how this failure did come about? This article challenges some of the underlying assumptions for stability and the notion of political reconstruction that the international community and the Afghan government have implemented so far as being largely responsible for the gloomy state of affairs in that country.
1 See, for example, “The Situation in Afghanistan and its Implications for International Peace and Stability,” United Nations Report No. A/62/722-S/2008/159, March 2008. Also see “Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan (2001–2007),” United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, September 2007.
3 “Afghanistan: The Problem of Pashtun Alienation,” International Crisis Group, Asia Report No. 62, 5 August 2003.
4 See, for example, Patricia, Gossman, “Afghanistan: A Government of Warlords Threatens Kabul,” International Herald Tribune, 16 October 2003;Google Scholar Campbell, Duncan, “Afghan Warlords ‘Bigger Threat Than Taliban’,” Guardian Unlimited (UK), 13 July 2004;Google Scholar Rubin, Barnett, “The Warlords’ Threat: Afghanistan's Vote Could Trigger Mayhem,” International Herald Tribune, 4 August 2004;Google Scholar Schriek, Daan van der, “Warlords Threaten to Wreck Democratization Process in Afghanistan,” Eurasianet, 10 May 2004Google Scholar.
5 See, for example, Sand, Benjamin, “Afghanistan Blames Taleban, Drug Traffickers for Deadly Violence,” Voice of America, 5 February 2006Google Scholar.
6 See, for example, “Karzai Says U.S. Underfunding Afghanistan,” MSNBC and NBC News (US), 24 September 2006.
7 See, for example, “Karzai Blames Pakistan over Taliban Attacks,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News, 19 May 2006.
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11 For examples of views by Pushtun intellectuals concerned about the notion of reduced Pushtun power see Jalali, Ali Ahmad, “Afghanistan in 2002: The Struggle to Win the Peace,” Asian Survey, 43, no. 1 (January–February 2002): 174–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Also see Ahady, Anwar-ul-Haq, “The Decline of the Pashtuns [sic] in Afghanistan,” Asian Survey, 35, no. 7 (July 1995): 621–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
12 See, for example, Dar Bara-e Federalism, Bakhsh-e Amozesh wa Farhang-e Hezb-e Kangara-e Milli Afghanistan [Regarding Federalism, Educational Section of the National Congress Party of Afghanistan] (Kabul, 1383 Solar Hejra Calendar), no. 1. Also see Kangara Monthly, Organ-e Nesharati Hezb-e Kangara-e Milli Afghanistan [Official Gazette of the National Congress Party of Afghanistan], no. 1, 5 July 2005.
13 Two main political coalitions, namely the Shura-e Mottahed-e Melli and the Jabha-e Melli which are dominated by, but not necessarily limited to, the non-Pushtun forces, have called for a revamping of the strong centralized political system by proposing a replacement of the Presidential with a Parliamentary system and changing of the laws to make the provincial Governors elected officials rather than direct appointees of the President. See “Mokhalefat Ba Mosharekat-e Moqamat-e Afghanistan Dar Jabha-e Melli ” [Opposition against Participation of High-Ranking Afghan Officials in the Jabha-e Melli], BBC Persian, 9 April 2007. Also see “Shekast-e Eqtesad-e Bazar” [The Defeat of Market Economy], Payam-e-Mojahid Weekly, no. 544, 20 September 2007.
14 See, for example, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powel's statement in the US House of Representatives on 24 October 2001. “Afghan Future, Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” PBS TV (US), 25 October 2001; Clark, Kate, “No Ordinary Homecoming,” BBC News, 17 April 2002Google Scholar.
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34 It should be noted that although the notion of Pushtuns forming the biggest ethnic minority in Afghanistan has been accepted by most Western scholars almost unquestioningly, it is far from acceptable to non-Pushtun Afghan scholars. Rawan Farhadi, a prominent Afghan scholar, former Deputy Foreign Minister and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, believes that the Pushtuns and the Tajiks each account for 30 percent of the total population. Farhadi, Rawan, “Islam and the War of Liberation in Afghanistan,” Central Asia and the Caucasus, no. 5 (2000)Google Scholar.
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38 Maley, Rescuing Afghanistan, 49.
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40 Human Rights Watch Report on Afghanistan, 2007; Amnesty International Report on Afghanistan, 2007.
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42 Fereshta Hazrati's exclusive interview with Younus Qanooni, Radio Women Message, Gutenberg, Sweden, 15 November 2005, http://www.khawaran.com, accessed 25 January 2007. The interview was conducted in Persian. The English translation is by the author.
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47 Marten, “Warlordism in Comparative Perspective,” 56.
48 Robinson, “Twenty-First Century Warlords,” 127.
49 Nourzhanov, “Saviours of the Nation or Robber Barons,” 110.
50 Robinson, “Twenty-First Century Warlords,” 126.
51 Giustozzi, “The Debate on Warlordism,” 6–10.
52 Interview with Ahmed Rashid by Mark Davis, Dateline, SBS TV (Australia), 6 October 2004.
53 Richburg, Keith B., “Karzai Vows to Crack Down on Warlords, Drug Dealers,” Washington Post, 5 November 2004Google Scholar.
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64 See “Afghanistan's Endangered Compact,” International Crisis Group, Asia Briefing No. 59, 29 January 2007.
65 Maley, Rescuing Afghanistan, 18–20.
66 Mackinlay, John, “Defining Warlords”, in Cilliers, Jakkie and Norberg, Annika Hilding (ed.), Building Stability in Africa: Challenges for the New Millennium, Monograph No. 46 (February 2000), Institute for Security Studies, http://www.iss.co.za/Pubs/Monographs/No46/Defining.html, accessed 31 March 2007Google Scholar; Kimberly Marten, “Warlordism in Comparative Perspective”, pp. 41–73. Also see T. P. Robinson, “Twenty-First Century Warlords”, pp. 121–145.
67 Dubnov, Arkady, “Afghanistan under Lease,” Russia in Global Affairs, no. 3 (July–September 2004)Google Scholar.
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70 “Tazahorat Alaihe Wali-e Jawzjan” BBC Persian, 16 November 2006.
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72 Afghanistan: Presidential Election, 9 October 2004, European Union Democracy and Election Support Mission, Final Report, p. 27.
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74 “Sag-shoy” (dog-washer) and “peshak-shoy” (cat-washer) are two derogatory Persian/Dari terms used in post-Taliban Afghanistan to denote the menial nature of employment some of the expatriate Afghans allegedly received in exile.
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81 The author is in possession of a copy of the list with handwritten letters marked in front of each name to denote their ethnicity.
83 “Afghanistan: The Problem of Pashtun Alienation,” International Crisis Group, Asia Report No. 62, 5 August 2003.
84 Isby, “Pushtun Politics and Violence in Afghanistan,” 7–8.
85 See http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2002/guest.html, accessed 9 January 2007; “Afghanistan's Power Brokers, Abdullah Abdullah (Tajik),” BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/world/2001/war_on_terror/after_the_taleban/a_abdullah.stm, accessed 9 January 2007. http://www.foxnews.com/projects/photo_essay/afghan_gov/4.htm, accessed 9 January 2007.
86 Interview with Dr Abdullah by Hussaini Madani, “Dr. Abdullah: Heech Bahs-e Ke Ba Raees-e Jamhoor Ba Nateeja Raseeda Basham Soorat Nagerefta Ast” [No Discussion in Which I would have Reached an Understanding with the President Has Taken Place], Payam-e-Mojahid Weekly, no. 543, 14 September 2007.
87 “Members of Afghanistan's Interim Administration,” Houston Chronicle, 26 December 2001, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/side/1182429.html, accessed 9 January 2007. Also see “Filling the Vacuum: The Bonn Conference,” Frontline, PBS TV (US), http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/campaign/withus/cbonn.html, accessed 9 January 2007.
89 Maley, Rescuing Afghanistan, 33.
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