What Democracy for Afghanistan? An Analysis Utilizing Established Norms and Five Non-Western Case Studies   [open pdf - 401KB]

"Well into its eighth year, two assumptions about the conflict in Afghanistan have become accepted wisdom. First, the goals of Afghanistan and its international supporters cannot be achieved by military force alone; effective, civilian-directed elements of power are also needed in abundance. Second, both the political goal of establishing a viable democratic government and the military objective of defeating the Taliban and other insurgents may have to be more modest than heretofore declared. This study examines the stated goal of creating basic democratic or participatory governance in Kabul in light of internationally accepted measures of success and five possible models from the developing world. It concludes with findings and policy recommendations to help answer the important question being asked by leaders and policymakers: what type of government is possible in Afghanistan? A prominent goal of the international intervention in Afghanistan has been to see some level of representative government flourish as the system of choice for the Afghan people. The Bush administration linked a democratic Afghanistan to NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] collective security interests. It has been suggested that the Obama Administration's March 2009 strategy for Afghanistan deemphasizes democracy in favor of security goals. However, the prominent place of the recent presidential and upcoming parliamentary elections in Obama's treatment of Afghanistan suggests that while expectations may have been lowered, putting in place at least the rudiments of participatory governance remains the end goal for Afghanistan's government. If international withdrawal from Afghanistan anticipates leaving such a democratic Afghanistan behind, what minimal political progress and achievements are required to constitute a democracy in Afghanistan, and how can the international community foster such progress with reasonable prospects for success?"

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Center for Technology and National Security Policy: http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/
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