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Centralization/Decentralization in the Dynamics of Afghan History

  • Author(s): Barfield, Thomas
  • et al.
Abstract

The analysis of political organization in Afghanistan is clouded by a number of myths (unconquerable, ungovernabale and graveyard of empires) that are contradicted by the facts.  Historically Afghanistan was peacefully governed by a wide variety of conquerors and native dynasties, but all used combinations of direct and indirect rule to create stable polities. They also relied on theories of political legitimacy that vested authority in ruling elites that, once established, returned to power after periods of disruption to bring order to the country.  This pattern of successful governance has been overlooked in rebuilding Afghanistan today to the detrement of political stability.

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