Afghanistan: Political Frailty and External Interference by Nabi Misdaq

By Nabi Misdaq

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But little if any attention was paid to nationalism and the formation of the early states or how the Afghan example could be compared to them. However, this criticism is not completely well founded as most of the theoretical research on nationalism and the early states that I mention in this work was not then available. What was available was Weber’s work on patrimonial states and also Southall’s on the segmentary state. In this work I use the research on Tribe and State and complement it by seeing the Afghan state to have been similar to Weber’s patrimonial Introduction 19 state of medieval Europe, and as an almost perfect example of a segmentary state, as seen by Southall in his Alur research.

Tapper then turns to define ‘state’ as: ‘. . a territorially-bounded polity with a centralised government and a monopoly of legitimate force, usually including within its bounds different social classes and ethnic/cultural groups’ (p. 10). Afghanistan, despite varying limits of central control over its tribes, has been a territorially bounded polity with a central government and heterogeneous population and can thus be described as a state (p. 11). Tribe and state are, in terms of their nature as conceptually opposed tendencies, modes or models of organisation, not just analytically distinct but consciously articulated as cultural categories by and within the groups.

After the Aryans came Greeks, Sakas, Yuehchis, Kushans, Hephthalites, Arabs, Mongols, Turks and Persians. Most of the present inhabitants of the country are the descendants of these waves of immigrants and invaders. 1 For the first time a proper scientific census of Afghanistan has been published by the WAK Foundation For Afghanistan (WAKFA), a non-governmental organisation. This nearly six-year survey (May 1991–December 1996) gives figures for all ethnic groups in the country both as ‘ethnic’ and ‘linguistic’ groups.

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