Governance in Afghanistan: Context and Possibilities   [open pdf - 744KB]

"Since 2011, the capabilities of the Afghan state have been a priority on the world stage. The reign of Amir Abdur Rahman, who established the current state of Afghanistan, is critical in understanding the development of the current state, and the possibilities that are open to the current government. When Amir Abdur Rahman ascended to the throne of Kabul, he ruled little more than the city itself. Over the course of his 21 year reign, he established institutions that enabled the first peaceful transition of power in the history of Afghanistan, and formalized the state that currently exists. Understanding the methods used by Rahman, the context in which he used them, and the results of that application illuminate possibilities for the current Afghan state. In extending the power of the state, Rahman's primary methods were 'internal imperialism' and cooption of the Islamic religious authorities. Supporting these methods were military modernization, and governmental and economic development. Finally, the imposition of boundaries on Afghanistan by the state system changed the nature of boundaries and shaped the extension of state power. This insight shapes the understanding of the possibilities that are open for extending the power of the current state in relation to similar actors in a similar system."

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