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The Challenges to Nation-Building
The attempt is to discuss all these challenges to nation- building under three specific but overlapping categories namely Social, Economic and Political challenges.
1. SOCIAL CHALLENGES
The National Idea / The Idea of a Nation
The national and patriotic idea has remained weak and underdeveloped in Afghanistan, lacking appeal or influence except in a small and unrepresentative educated urban, literate class; whose members are often in important respects culturally cut off from the mass of rural or tribal population. Afghanistan’s rural population lived for most part in remote rural areas and had usually had restricted horizons and limited political consciousness.
Afghanistan has never been a nation in the sense of a common people with a shared destiny, but rather a collection of disparate groups joined together by the vagaries of geopolitics. It has been recounted in several scholarly works, how Afghanistan emerged as a state built around the Pashtun tribal structure. The Saddozai Popolzai clans of the Durrani tribes formed a great Pushtun confederation and carved out an empire between India and Persia in the mid-eighteenth century. They were followed by the Mohammadzai Barakzai clans, also belonging to the Durrani tribes, in 1818, but it lacked internal cohesion.
Antony Hyman argues that, nationalism could not exert its peculiar ideological appeal until the majority of Afghanistan’s population were integrated into the collective life of the society. Although modernization of Afghan society had made considerable progress from the 1950s, its impact was restricted almost entirely to the educated elite of Kabul. The educated class was also divided along ethnic lines.
Even this small educated class was itself deeply divided along ethnic lines, between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns, bitterly resenting the virtual monopoly of power and pretensions of the Pashtun elite. In Kabul and the few other large towns, the elite and urban middle class were subject to a process of Persianization of speech and culture.
To be continued...