Post-War Afghanistan: Reconstructing a Failed State

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  • October 2004

    Afghanistan once represented a fragmented and failed socio-economic and political entity. Operation Enduring Freedom, while targeting the Taliban and Al Qaida as part of the global war on terrorism helped create the structure of a new Afghan State. This article analyses the challenges faced by Afghanistan and how the new Afghan elite and its foreign supporters seek to address them through constitutional means. The New Constitution provides the framework of how Afghanistan wishes to reconstruct the new State. While it does concede the right of popular participation, its highly centralised form of government and unitary system that sidelines the political ramifications of ethnic nationalism are likely to pose serious challenges to nation-building. It might even push the central government to rely more upon foreign forces, mostly from the NATO countries. The situation is volatile and is likely to lead to conflict escalation unless the central government as also its foreign supporters are prepared to make major compromise with local ethnic leaders/warlords, and thus bypass provisions of the Constitution. However, that will in turn set a wrong precedent for a new State.

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