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Analyzing the reasons behind the inherent stability of Afghanistan.

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AT THE VERY TOP, and then THE followng SUBTOPICS AT THE HEAD OF EACH ITEM YOU DISCUSS.
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1)

The non-artificial nature of the Afghan state;

2)

Decentralized, tribalist/confederalist nature of rule in Afghanistan;

3)

The role and limitations of power of the Lord of Kabul (a.k.a., the central government of Afghanistan);

4)

Multi-ethnic society of Afghanistan with no ethnic majorities;

5)
Lack of overt interference by Kabul or the US in the political affairs of the country and the absence of need
for such an interference.

1) The non-artificial nature of the Afghan state;

Afghanistan's statehood differs from its neighbors' in the sense that its creation was not
done by outside forces, such as colonial governors. The groups that compose of present day
Afghanistan do so under their own will, with the understanding that if they would be displeased
with the condition of the country they could withdraw without friction. After its initial creation in
the 18th Century, the continued growth to what we know of today was done largely during the
Great Game of the 19th Century, which saw Russia and England competing with each other for
territory around Central Asia and the Middle East. The importance of Afghanistan was due to
Herat-Kandahar passage that lead to India through the Hindu Kush mountains. This is one of the
few ways to enter India from the land, and Russia wanted control of it to gain access to the
British controlled India. Thus, due to the pressures of a Russia advancing from the north, tribes
began to pledge themselves to the Kabul government, forming piece by piece the Afghanistan of
the present day. It is the willingness with which the tribes pledged themselves with that form the
strong backbone of the country. Because of this there can be a pride amongst its populace, that
their country is truly theirs. Accordingly, political upsets will not see a toppling of the country's
status, for there is no desire for a change in state, as its formation had been a communal process.
This is in contrast to, for example, many African countries, which saw colonial forces draw
borders that crossed across tribal lines and split up and pushed together populations of people
without their consent, resulting in inherently unstable states.

2)Decentralized, tribalist/confederalist nature of rule in Afghanistan;


The political makeup of Afghanistan sees a heavy emphasis on local, warlord rule of its
territories. While a central government exists in Kabul, this government holds no definite power
over the people and can only exist with the support of the tribal leaders within the country. A
comparison could be drawn to Medieval England, which while having a King, did not give rise
to a singular leader with absolute authority. Rather, the king had to concede power to various
lords, and merely acts as the first among equals, meaning that although his opinion may come
first, it carries no greater weight than any other lord. Afghanistan's tribal leaders expect the same
from the lord of Kabul as the English lords did of their lord of London, and this forms the protodemocracy of the Afghanistan political system. The lord of Kabul must make sure to please his
subjects, and must prove himself as a capable leader, lest he find himself removed and
replaced by another. Therefore, the power of Kabul's lord is tempered by those just as strong as
he.
Despite the lack of an official system of voting, representation comes about through the
need of the tribal lords to champion the needs of those in their lands, for. much like the lord of
Kabul, if they do no perform their duties efficiently they also may be replaced. It is this ability to
replace inadequate leaders, coupled with the independence every leader has, that prevents
Afghanistan from seeing a dictator rise to power. Even if Kabul's lord was to be a despot, he
would not be able to enforce statewide mandates for his orders would be ignored by the other
tribes, and he would not have the military might to enforce them. Absolutism requires a great
degree of centralization, such as in Iraq, to be successful.

3). The role and limitations of power of the Lord of Kabul (a.k.a., the central government of Afghanistan);

Because of the balance of power between tribal lords and the Kabul government,
Afghanistan's political process is very different from the Western idea of one, central body of
authority that is to be reported to. Due to the tribal history of Afghanistan, centralized
government has never been a custom its populace has practiced. An early example of this can be
seen with the ruler Timur Shah, successor to the father of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah. While his
father was a warrior king, whose capital was Kandahar, Timur's less able rule saw the lords in
Kandahar voice their displeasure, which resulted in his movement to Kabul. This event early in
the history of what is now considered modern Afghanistan serves as a useful example in
exploring the ways in which Kabul's government steers clear from enforcing a high degree of
control onto the country. Instead of attempting to constrain the displeasure of the Kandahar lords,
Timur simply left them to their own devices. In the present day, warlords control business and
warfare in their territories, keep their revenue, and administer their lands mostly independently.
Because of the historic precedent of local governance, Kabul's compliance to keep its
direct control limited to Kabul itself prevents any conflict from arising between King and lords,
which prevents the desire for the latter to break apart and declare being an independent state. In
the present day, with the formation of Parliament, Kabul has made attempts to officiate these
informal tribal lords by electing them to governmental positions, such as the choosing of Ismail
Khan, the lord of Heart, as the Minister of Water and Energy. Another example of past customs
being turned into present day formalities is the keeping of Kabul's lord being a Pashtu, whether
through legal means or ballot stuffing, as the lord of Kabul has always been Pashtun.

4) Multi-ethnic society of Afghanistan with no ethnic majorities;

Afghanistan's population is made up of such ethnic groups like the Pashtu, Hazara,
Uzbeks, Tajiks, and many more. The Pashtus have controlled Kabul and thus the central
government, but this does not make them the dominant culture of the country, and those that
make up their ranks largely reside along the border with Pakistan. Because of this lack of a
primary ethnic make up of Afghanistan, the threat of topics such as racism and nationalism do
not come to the forefront to destabilize internal relations. Even in the field of marriage, Afghans
wed across ethnic lines regularly, such as between Turkmen and Uzbeks to the north of the
country. Much like how the presence of multiple lords prevent the government in Kabul from
becoming despotic, the existence of many different ethnic make ups prevents one group from
gaining power and forcing their wills on the others. On top of this, because no group is totally
insulated from interaction with others, it would be difficult for prejudice to begin to form
regardless. The lack of enforcing an official language, and the country wide practice of Hanafi
Sunnism in the Afghan state further aids the lack of internal strife, as it breeds a tolerance of
cultural differences being accepted rather than forced away. An example of the dangers of
nationalism and ethnic tension can be seen in much of Europe, with special regard given to the
conflict in the former Yugoslavia throughout the nineties, which saw groups such as Serbs,
Bosnians, and Croatians war against each other for the chance to create their own sovereign
state. A danger to Afghanistan in the present day concerning ethnic tension has begun to show
itself in the form of groups such as the Taliban, which is composed of Pashtus and promotes
Pashtu cultural traditions. This could inspire similar nationalistic tendencies in those they
antagonize, and could prove a threat to Afghanistan's future stability.

5)Lack of overt interference by Kabul or the US in the political affairs of the country and the absence of need for

such an interference.

After the U.S invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to push the Taliban out of political control
was able to provide an example as to the way in which Afghanistan's stability can be observed. It
was not U.S forces that invaded Kabul, but rather the Northern Alliance forces, which began its
reclamation of the city after the Taliban began to weaken. This demonstrates the way in which
Afghan lords provide local protection against threats, without the need for a centralized, Kabul or
U.S controlled political system. Local lords arm their own forces and make their own revenue,
often through smuggling operations and drug trades, but these acts are not as deplorable as the
Kabul government would let the U.S forces believe. For example, Ismail Khan, lord of heart,
does smuggle goods across the border for profit, but its classification as smuggling is applied due
to his refusal to provide Kabul with part of the revenue. This largely exists within the traditional
view of internal Afghan relations, where the lord performs his duties independently of Kabul and
expects to reap all of what is sowed. The way in which these lords perform their activities keeps
their territory stable and safe, with Taliban risks in the areas nonexistent. Local villages have
grown historically accustomed to this set up, and it has been seen that when a lord's control is
stripped, his former territory will often go into unrest to demonstrate the need for his governance,
such as was done by, again, Ismail Khan after he was placed from being Herat's lord to being the
Minister of Water and Energy. After this occurred, religious clashes between Sunni and Shii'ite
occurred in Herat, and Ismail was required to calm the area. The knowledge required to govern
these territories lies within the historic system of tribal lords, whose families have ruled for
years. Kabul and the U.S would invoke chaos were they to simply remove the existing local
government structures, and thus there is an effort to balance centralization with the local
autonomy always known to Afghanistan.

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