Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Nation-building and Its Challenges in Afghanistan

Though there is no specific definition about nation-building in political science, generally it refers to the process of making a common national identity using the power of state. This process aims unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. In clearer term, nation-building discuss about development of behaviors, values, language, institutions, physical structures and feeling of loyalty to certain geography that elucidate history and culture, concretize and protect the present, and insure the future identity, interests and independence of a nation. The nation-building can also involve use of propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster social harmony and economic growth.
Nation-building and national identities have been of the most controversial and difficult topic in political history of Afghanistan. According to some experts, the controversies and difficulties were because some traditional politicians knowingly or unknowingly tried to impose a certain artificial identity on the whole country. In fact, the artificial identity repeatedly failed to create a deep feeling of oneness and loyalty to the country. As a result, we are still faced with multiple crisis such identity crisis, security crisis, management crisis, economic crisis, social and culture crisis almost everything faced with deadlock in the country. If today there is a system under the name of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, it is just because of international community, not our own ability. However, this is a wrong expectation to build the country by foreigners.  
The presence of foreigners could be a challenge or a unique opportunity depends on how we use it in the course of nation-building and state building. There were many countries in our neighborhoods such as India, Iran and others that successfully exploited from the similar opportunity to reach a factual independence. Now there is no doubt that our country is suffering from lack of a unified nation and multiple crises as aforementioned. There is also no doubt that we want to cross from the current challenges. So, the question is how we are able to move forward? Is it possible to build a nation with superficial analysis from the chronic challenges which lasted more than a hundred year? Yes, it is possible to calm people for few days with delay touching the root issues but reaching to a sustainable peace and prosperity requires a deeper political discourse. Fortunately, we live in an era which abounds with scientific achievements and successful nation-building experiences to help us open our old political knots and enlighten our way to a bright political future provided that we will towards it.
With looking from the glasses of political science, the nation building failure can be attributed to two internal and external factors.  In regard to external factors, we are not in a position to change the duties and strategies of foreigners, particularly at this critical situation.  In relation to internal factors, the first factor which frequently blamed for hindering the process of nation building is ethnocentrism. Instead of promoting the feeling of nationalism, the ethnocentrism has been promoted in the country. If we look at the population geography, formation of political parties and private universities, stances of private media and so on all have been shaped on the basis of ethnicity.  As a consequence, we not only suffer from lack of national state, national unity, national authority, national interests, national sovereignty, and national strategy but also witness a great historic downfall in the country changing the cradle of science and civilization to cradle of war and conflicts. So, in order to build a unified nation in Afghanistan, there is no better alternative than accepting freedom, equality, brotherhood and truthful democracy in Afghanistan; using democracy for justification and legitimization of monopolistic political power will not help us to build a nation.
The next factor which largely challenged the nation building process in Afghanistan is radical interpretation from religion. The radical interpretations from religion has not only created a lot of political tensions in the country but also caused huge women deprivation in the country. According to political sociologists, when the religious gapes are combined with racial gapes it farther intensify the political tensions hindering the nation building process in a country. Unfortunately, this issue has largely experienced in the history of Afghanistan as many of religious extremist groups tried to impose their values and believes on other groups damaging the nation building process. Although this issue was not true since 2001 as all religious branches are legally recognized by national constitution, the commencement of peace process and murmurings of Islamic Emirate once again revived the concerns.
The last problem which challenges the nation building process is illiteracy issues in the country. Though the status of education has largely changed in last two decades, there are so many qualitative and quantative deficiencies in most parts of the country. In such a context, the bed for violence, inflexibility, myth, superstitions and discriminations are widely ready while the ground of coexistence, social openness, sound economic relations, political interactions and pluralistic culture are not ready. We must note that only education enriches people's understanding of themselves and world as well as enables them to understand the values of peace, prosperity and coexistence. Thus, we must note that only education can rescue people for not to be trapped by destructive elements. If we conduct a scientific survey among suicide attackers, it is not possible to find someone amongst them who knowingly blast themselves killing their compatriots and destroy public property. So, if we really want to promote the feeling of deep oneness in Afghanistan, it is only possible through science and scientific approach towards social and political phenomena. And finally, if we do not change our views towards education and not put it as top national priority, trillions of dollars cannot rescue the country with large number of narrow-minded mentalities.