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Afghanistan Enters the Twenty-first Century

Afghanistan Enters the Twenty-first Century

(p.272) Chapter Five Afghanistan Enters the Twenty-first Century
Thomas Barfield
Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the first decade of the twenty-first century in Afghanistan. As the twentieth century ended, ever-larger numbers of Afghans had become caught up in political and military struggles from which they had been previously isolated. Whether as fighters, refugees, or just victims of war and disorder, few escaped the turmoil that roiled the country. Ethnic and regional groups in Afghanistan had become politically and militarily empowered, reversing the process of centralization that had been imposed by Amir Abdur Rahman. Yet when the international community set about creating the new Afghan constitution, it did not start afresh but attempted to restore the institutions of old. This brought to the surface long-simmering disputes about the relationship of the national government to local communities, the legitimacy of governments and rulers, and the relationship that Afghanistan should have with the outside world.

Keywords:   twenty-first century, political struggles, military struggles, new Afghan constitution, old Afghan institutions, national government, legitimacy, foreign relations

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