Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Nation-building Proved Abortive in Afghanistan

In the post-Taliban administration, the United States started nation-building, seeking to establish a strong government, facilitate public participation in political issues, empower women, and consolidate democracy through forceful means. A transition from post-war to democratization began, but it was not fulfilled.
Nation-building is the process of establishing a nation via government authority aimed at uniting all individuals for political stability. People from different racial, religious, sexual, and ethnic backgrounds need to be united to form a common historical identity with common feelings. In nation-building, a legitimate power should emerge to maintain law and order and political stability in a national state. National solidarity with the state needs to be formed, relations within and between institutions, factions, groups and sub-cultures be promoted, and infrastructures and networks be developed. The state and society should be united and civil rights protected.
Democratization is also an essential element in nation-building. That is, to build a nation, a society needs to be free and based on public participation. The political maturity of a nation should be promoted to the extent that collective wisdom is held in respect. As a result, despotism should find no room in the society.
Peace building, which is also a requirement in nation-building, could not succeed, either. The United States signed an agreement with the Taliban leadership last year, based on which the US will withdraw its troops by September and the Taliban pledged to cut ties with al-Qaeda, but the security situation has been deteriorated as the Taliban maintain their ties with al-Qaeda and have intensified their attacks against Afghan soldiers and civilians. The Taliban stalled the peace talks with the Afghan government few months back. The group signaled to resume talks, but there is no sign of commitment as its fighters are widely involved in escalated insurgency. Since the Taliban show no sign of genuine intention for talks, peace building seems to be a failed attempt.
It is self-explanatory that the role of local people is highly crucial in nation-building. The most crucial role will be played by native experts, who are aware of the societal facts.
The European Union believes that nation-building, which is forming a society with common values, traditions, and history, could not be built by foreigners, adding that the US may be engaged in state-building through establishing political institutions, not nation-building. It is worth mentioning that for the EU, nation-building comes before the state-building, but it is vice versa for the US. The US believes that nation-building takes place not through political reformation but via promoting free market, reforming educational systems, establishing an active civil society and empowering women. Hence, state-building before nation-building is a top-down approach supported by the United States. Based on this model, a state will be established through the meddling of a foreign state and international organizations such as the UN and, then, nation-building, which is a more complicated and time-consuming process, will be started.
A number of politicians believe that military power should pave the ground for leaders to engage in nation-building and provide the necessary trainings about culture, constitution, public administration, civil planning, economy and morality. Nation-building is strongly connected with changes in culture and history, which will not take place overnight.
The role of the United Nations, according to some experts, is highly essential in nation-building as it has to send peace-keeping soldiers to the war-torn countries as the UN played important role in nation-building in Cambodia, Angola, Bosnia, etc.
Overall, few issues should be considered in nation-building: creating a peaceful environment for the citizens, forming a civil society, developing government institutions and ensuring freedom of expressions and press and other civil liberties, reconstructing economic infrastructures through defined economic policy, and building a legal and free system.
Considering the abovementioned facts, the process of nation-building by the United States did not bear the desired result in Afghanistan. The proxy war could be one of the main obstacles to the issue as the Taliban still continue their escalated insurgency despite signing peace pact with the United States. The people are not united and racial and religious discrimination continues. The militant fighters are engaged in spilling the blood of people on the grounds of their race, sect and beliefs. A strong common cultural and historical identity was not shaped during the last couple of decades. Civil liberties and freedom of expressions and press are lacking. The militants stand against democratic values and women’s rights and freedoms. Reconstruction was not successful since the Taliban and their international affiliates are involved in planting improvised explosive devices, attacking residential houses, and bombing mosques, hospitals and public infrastructures.