Main Article Content
After nearly twenty years of occupation and reconstruction, Afghanistan lacks a modern state. The dominant discourse absolves failures in the neoliberal approach to nation-building attributing Afghanistan’s weak state to its inherent tribalism, a culture of corruption, and a historical absence of modern state institutions. Contrary to the dominant discourse, this paper provides a history of Afghan state formation and political modernization in the twentieth century. Afghanistan’s modernization was internally contested, but by the 1970s the country had the
features of a modern, secular state. It has been foreign intervention over the last forty years, in support of anti-modern, reactionary forces, that unmade the modern Afghan state. The neoliberal approach post-9/11, adopting the language of good governance and capacity-building, has made Afghanistan perpetually dependent on foreign assistance, rendering it a phantom state while erasing its history and undermining the political and institutional structures for a united, independent, and peaceful Afghanistan.