Nation Building in Afghanistan | Muhammad Shoaib

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Nation Building in Afghanistan

The current situation in Afghanistan may be attributed to the collaborative efforts of national governments and foreign troops. The worldwide system of nation-states, which is dominated by the West, has made it imperative for Afghanistan’s leaders to create some type of nation-state inside their government.

Governments throughout the globe have been attempting to build a modern, centralised state since the end of the nineteenth century, despite the fact that this is very difficult. Afghanistan has been labelled as a “failed state” as it lacks the modern governing system as practised in the western or most parts of the world since the former soviets left and the US abandoned the region into chaos; the Taliban took control from 1996 to 2001.

Read: Required Respite for Afghan Refugees | Muhammad Shoaib

Afterwards, the US, along with NATO, entered Afghanistan after 9/11 with the objectives to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda”. During the 20-year-long stay in Afghanistan – twice that of the Soviets – the US tried to establish a proper governing system – and then a “nation-building” process to prevent this “threat” state from becoming a danger as part of the “global war on terror”.

But, the government and army established or trained by the professionals fled the area leaving the country into chaos and uncertainty soon after the US withdrawal that occurred after the Doha peace talks supported and facilitated by Pakistan. The need of the hour is that the strategic blunders of 1990 should not be repeated in Afghanistan as they happened after the Soviet withdrawal when the US abandoned the region. At that time, the region, instead of moving towards the path of development, was pushed into chaos and turmoil leading to regional instability with global implications.

This article; however, focuses on the different aspects that are the nation-building of Afghanistan and the establishment of a modern or centralized state.

Nation-building in Afghanistan

Building a country is a phrase that can no longer be accepted at face value in today’s globalised world. This word was initially employed in the context of nationalism in the 19th century, but its meaning has evolved significantly since then. At a time when Western Europe was rapidly modernising, nation-building was an important component of the process.

But other academics have shown that the term “nation-building” has been taken out of its original context in nationalist discourse and is now used to describe the foreign policy of world power, the United States, in reintegrating a “failed state” into the international order following a foreign military intervention.

Nation-building refers to the process of bringing a war-torn, insecure, and “threatened” country like Afghanistan into the international system as a unit that is both safe and able to function in harmony with the rest of the world’s countries. Instead of using nationalist rhetoric to help establish a contemporary nation-state, this is a far simpler method to follow. By following the Western model of a nation-state, these governments may gain worldwide recognition while still honouring their own cultural legacies. If the state in issue is really unique, people expect it to assume the shape of a nation-state. What comes out is an odd blend of Western-style and non-Western substance when there is no nationalist debate.

In non-Western nations like Afghanistan, the most crucial issue to ask is what gives a country’s local content its distinctive flavour. The greatest approach to learning about the concept of “country” is via state-sponsored education. Researchers have a difficult time researching the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since it only existed from 2004 to 2021. “Country” is a Western concept in Afghanistan. It is easy for people to get mixed up about Afghanistan because it is rarely viewed on its own terms. Afghanistan is viewed as more than just a passive recipient of foreign ideas; it is an actor capable of understanding and adapting to those ideas in its own way. So, it is of significant importance that Afghanistan’s culture should be examined through its state-created language of education, which is a reliable source of sociological information for nation-building.

The degree to which this foreign-imposed form of country interacts with local content is a fundamental challenge that has to be handled in all situations of nation-building. It is important that the new government formed in Afghanistan may be supported so that they can build their systems; apart from this international community support is vital to save the people of Afghanistan to move into chaos and uncertainty.

Pakistan’s role

Pakistan has been playing a constructive role in bringing peace to the region. The regional players have to play their part because regional peace, stability and economic prosperity – through trade – are linked with the regional peace in Afghanistan. International powers – like the US in 1990 – must not repeat the history of abandoning the region again which may not only have regional but global implications.


The author holds an M.Phil degree from National Defence University. He is a freelance writer and can be reached at [email protected]

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