an examination of Afghan-Nation’s Inability to Form a Resilient Government

Afghanistan’s history is rife with wars, occupations, and additional notorious domestic and external conflicts, including three major annexations by foremost super-powers, namely Great Britain

an examination of Afghan-Nation's Inability to Form a Resilient Government


Afghanistan’s history is rife with wars, occupations, and additional notorious domestic and external conflicts, including three major annexations by foremost super-powers, namely Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and last but not least, the United States of America, which undoubtedly portrays decades of foreign seizure in the country’s internal and outer affairs. Throughout its history, from the Mohammad Zahir monarchy (1933–73) to the first republic of Mohammad Daoud Khan (1973–78), the communist regimes (1979–89), the Mujahidin (1992–96), the Taliban (1996–2001), and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRoA) (2001–21), Afghanistan’s economy was depended on foreign assistance / Aid for more than 60 percent  of its overall budget—almost none of the aforementioned governments were self-sufficient, and every aforesaid government was assisted by a world power. A portion of Afghans were always against such interferences, starts from Mohammad Daoud Khan era to the date. The Afghan-nation have failed to establish a strong and stable government that would accurately represent Afghanistan’s national interests without regard for ethnic, linguistic, or foreign agendas. To that end, biased ethnic behavior, religious misinterpretations, and a low rate of illiteracy have resulted in nearly four decades of row warfare in the country and the failure to form an authoritative, resilient government from the first republic known as the foundation of the new era of conflict following 1970s. As a result of the misery, terrorism arose, ensuing in regional and international interreference that shaped weak governments for their own interests, leading to massive narcotics trade, corruption, ideologies, ethnic cleansing, and last but not least, geopolitical and economic disasters.



A state is a collection of people who are affiliated with formal institutions of government, such as laws, fixed territorial boundaries, and sovereignty from the social order. A nation is a group of people who share a common language, history, culture, and other traits and are geographically located. Undeniably power belongs to a nation / people rather than Enterprises, Think-Tanks, MegaCorporations, and etc. It is the people that form the governments and all aforementioned elements for them and their future endeavors; conversely, after the formation of modern Afghanistan in 1700s by Ahmad Sha Durrani no governmental structure or establishment were formed by the will of the Afghan-nation to represent country’s wider interests, contrariwise, political and ethnical rivalries created gaps onto Afghanistan’s fragile political system that resulted to forced or deceptive governments through supper-powers  that has been imposed on Afghan-Nation.

Following to that, only consider the first republic in the country imposed by Mohammad Daoud Khan (1973–78), literally no one actually participated in a process called election or Shura—as well as—no one demanded the self-imposed governments to organize an election for them so they can cast vote for their future. Starts from Mohammad Daoud khan, known as the beginning of a new conflict in the history of the country, to the end of Taliban regime (2001); there was not any contribution or political participation of the people voluntarily in building their government by defining their vital national interests and form governmental system/structure accordingly.


Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan, with his own contacts with some military officers and the help and information he had gathered in the course of ten years from Dr. Mohammad Hassan Sharg, who was the contact person between Sardar Mohamad Daud and his friends, such as Dr. Niamatullah Pazwak, the minister of interior in Mussa Shafig’s cabinet; Jalani Bakhtary, the cousin of Babrak Karmal; and Haidar Rasouly, a low-level military officer, as well as their personal contacts with civilians and some members from Parcham faction, staged a successful white coup during the night and in the morning. At 7:20 AM, July 17, 1973, he proclaimed the first republic of Afghanistan, and historians and political commentators / analysts consider the coup paving the way for further atrocities in the country.[i]


In 1964. Taraki and Babrak Karmal established a political party under the name of People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and worked directly under the instruction of the then Soviet Union, in 1978, (Saur Revolution) another newly established republic demolishes and a new regime after overthrowing and execution of Mohammad Daoud and his family, purging and killing of Daoud’s supporters and establishing of a New Democratic Republic of Afghanistan following Soviets military annexation in the country[ii].


After the successful coup in 1979, by one the most trusted comrade of Babrak Karmal, Hafizullah Amen established its self-imposed government with (0% of Nation’s political Participation), it was 100% Self-made government by Amin, backed through Soviets.

Subsequently, Jihad started against the Soviets by the help of international community, Jihad initiative was started by Prof. Rabbani, Prof. Sayyaf, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and their other comrades, whereas, most of the historians believe that Afghanistan Jihad was a foreign phenomenon brought by the well-known professors educated in Al-Azhar university of Egypt.


  • AND MORE . . .
Afghanistan’s Regimes /Governments 1979 – 2021
Sr. Governments / Establishments Date Nation’s Political Participation (Elections / Vote Counts) Self-imposed Governments / or as a result of super-power Interference
1 Babrak Karmal 1979-86 0% 100% 
2 Dr. Najibullah 1987-92 0% 100%  
3 Sibghatullah Mojaddedi 1992-92 0% 100%  
4 Burhanuddin Rabbani 1992-96 0% 100%  
5 Mullah Omer 1996-2001 0% 100%  
6 Hamid Karzai (first-term) 2004 55.4% (4,292,644 Votes)


12.63% of the total population.

Ensued of Bonn Agreement 2001, and external interference post 9/11.
7 Hamid Karzai (Second-term) 2009 49.7% (3,934,951 Votes)


11.57% of the total population.

A second-round run-off vote announced under heavy U.S. and ally pressure
8 Ashraf Ghani (first-term) 2014 55.27% (4,485,888 Vote)


13.19% of the total population.

Fraudulent charges in elections 2014 resulted, National Unity Government (NUG). It was established with the will of International Community.
9 Ashraf Ghani (Second-term) 2019 50.64% (923,592 Votes)


2.72% of the total population.



Fraudulent charges in elections 2019, ensued, Parallel oath ceremony by incumbent president Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah

Note: the total population has been considered 34 million in all calculations.



Throughout its history, Afghanistan has experienced various forms of governance, ranging from absolute monarchy to communist regime, from Islamic Republic to transitional governments. The sources of power and authority have varied as well, including tribal leaders, religious figures, political parties, military commanders, and foreign powers.

In many cases, the actual power in Afghanistan has been held by individuals or groups with personal connections, wealth, or military might, rather than by a stable and effective system of governance. The country has often struggled with weak institutions, corruption, and a lack of accountability, which has contributed to the concentration of power in the hands of a few elites.

However, it’s worth noting that this is a complex and multifaceted issue, and the balance of power has shifted over time depending on a range of factors such as internal politics, external influences, and geopolitical developments.

Since Daoud Khan’s first republic, in 1978, there have been several changes in government in Afghanistan. Here is a list of the changes in government and the number of times the government has changed:

  1. Daoud Khan’s government (1973-1978) – overthrown in a coup in 1978;
  2. Communist government (1979-1989) – collapsed in 1992 due to internal divisions and the Soviet Union’s withdrawal of support;
  • Islamic State of Afghanistan (1992-1996) – collapsed in 1996 due to internal conflicts / civil war, and the rise of the Taliban;
  1. Taliban regime (1996-2001) – overthrown in 2001 by a US-led coalition;
  2. Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (2001-2004) – replaced the Taliban regime, established by the Bonn Agreement;
  3. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2001-2021) – established by a new constitution in 2004, collapsed in 2021 with the Taliban takeover.


There are several reasons why every political system in Afghanistan has struggled to maintain stability:

  1. External interference: External actors, including neighboring countries, have often played a role in Afghanistan’s politics and have often sought to influence political outcomes in their own interests. This interference has contributed to instability and has undermined the ability of Afghan governments to maintain control.
  2. Ethnic and linguistic diversity: Afghanistan is a diverse country, with many ethnic and linguistic groups. This diversity has made it difficult to establish a shared national identity and create a political system that can accommodate the interests of all groups.
  • Weak institutions: Afghanistan’s political institutions have often been weak, with little capacity to provide services or maintain order. Corruption, nepotism, and patronage networks have also undermined the effectiveness of institutions.
  1. Historical legacy: Afghanistan has a long history of regional and tribal politics, which has made it difficult to establish a centralized government. Many groups have historically been suspicious of centralized power and prefer a more decentralized system.
  2. Conflict and violence: Afghanistan have experienced almost continuous conflict and violence for several decades. This has contributed to a sense of mistrust and division among different groups, making it difficult to establish a stable political system.

Overall, the combination of external interference, ethnic and linguistic diversity, weak institutions, historical legacy, and ongoing conflict and violence has made it difficult for Afghanistan to establish a stable political system. Until these underlying challenges are addressed, it is likely that future political systems in Afghanistan will also struggle to maintain stability. Subsequently, the level of people’s participation in forming their political government in Afghanistan has been limited and variable over time.



A country’s growth and development, as well as attracting foreign investment and promoting sustainable economic growth, depend on political stability. With powerful warlords and dishonest authorities benefiting from the illegal drug trade and other criminal activities in Afghanistan, the war economy has played a key role in the country’s political turmoil. The ability of the government to uphold the rule of law and provide essential services has been significantly diminished as a result of the unequal wealth and power distribution that has followed. Political instability in Afghanistan is a result of a number of factors, including weak institutions, a dysfunctional- administration, economic inequality, social unrest, and outside factors, including involvement in and conflict with other nations.

Further, corruption took many different forms, including bribery, theft, and cronyism. In order to benefit themselves and their families, government officials frequently engage in illegal operations like drug trafficking and smuggling. The public’s trust in the government was damaged by this pervasive corruption, which hampered efforts to create a stable, democratic society in Afghanistan. Corruption was a recurring issue in the years following 9/11 and played a role in the fall of the Afghan government in 2021.

Firstly, administrative corruption, Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, stated that he had been told by the CIA that it would continue to give him cash on a regular basis. The contributions, according to Karzai, “amount to one government institution helping another government institution, and we appreciate all this assistance and support,” he said during a news conference. He said that throughout the previous ten years, the funds had been used to support Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, but he did not specify how much he had received. Karzai claimed to have received the funds in cash, which excludes the donation from formal assistance contributions and eliminates the possibility of legislative monitoring. Ahmed Wali Karzai has been employed by the CIA for the past eight years according to NYTIMES. The reworked claims that Karzai’s brother is heavily involved in Afghanistan’s $4 billion annual drug industry.

It is estimated that pro-government power brokers alone received 767 million dollars per year in bribes (through corrupt officials who belonged to their networks) for unauthorized export and import goods at official border crossings, plus an additional 650 million at checkpoints on arterial roads throughout the entire nation, according to the Afghanistan border-monitoring project run by ALCIS, a British company that analyzes data from conflict areas. (Added to this were “tariffs” imposed by the Taliban at unofficial crossings and areas under their control.)

From the billion-dollar industry of police and military training funded by U.S. and ally, Jonathan Schroden, a US military officer, said in January 2021 that only 185,478 of the 352,000 Afghan soldiers and police who had been officially counted actually existed. The rest was an orange-army including teachers and etc.

Second, Warlords, as per Warlord, Inc., the consortium conveyed around 190,000 tons of freight to NATO stations in Afghanistan in 2009, including gas and supplies like drinking water and ammo. As per a 2010 US legislative review titled The Afghan Cash Trail, an enormous part of the $2 billion in business went to the Taliban, unscrupulous policing, and warlords in Afghanistan (some of whom possessed the vehicle firms that the consortium subcontracted with). In addition to fighting alongside NATO forces against the Taliban, these figures were also in charge of exporting Afghanistan’s harvest of the lucrative heroin trade, along with the companies that provided supplies for them. The country’s yearly average production of raw opium increased from 100 tons in the 1970s to 3,000–4,000 tons in the 1990s during the Mujahideen factional wars and then to 6,000 tons when NATO forces took control. 9,000 tons was the greatest amount ever seen in 2017.

Following to that, even in the early years of the US invasion, poppy palaces supported by drug money began to sprout in Afghanistan’s capitals and were routinely rented to embassies and international contractors. Both the lavish homes in Dubai that belonged to Afghan politicians and the tale of Kabul Bank, which was almost brought down by a Ponzi-scheme combining loans and reinvestments and which “lost” roughly 1 billion dollars, have become legends. The bank finally needed to be bailed out with money donated by Western taxpayers in order to ensure that Afghanistan’s civil authorities received their salaries and prevent the collapse of the state. The affair was mostly concealed.

Narcotics economy, the financial and political structure of Afghanistan is not founded on the idea of a direct economy and a market policy for the Afghan people; rather, it is centered around several axes, such as the economy of war, the economy of drugs, the economy of corruption, etc.

Afghanistan’s meager economy is heavily dependent on drugs. In 2021, opium, morphine, and heroin exports had a potential worth of $3.4 – to 4 billion, compared to a GDP of $14.79 billion. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, heroin costs an average of $2.50 per gram in Afghanistan, $3.50 in Pakistan and Iran, $8 in Turkey, $12 in Albania, and $18 in Slovakia at wholesale. In Russia, it costs 33 dollars, 30 dollars in Britain, and 22 dollars in Germany. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium production has generally increased in Afghanistan by 32% since last year. Additionally, it stated that from 425 million US dollars in 2017 to 1.4 billion dollars in 2021, farmers’ earnings from the sale of opium increased. In 2022, it is estimated that the value of opium in Afghanistan will be 6,200 tons, or roughly $1.55 billion USD, and that its export to the European market will be around $136.4 billion USD, with 15-20% of its contents going to farmers and internal smugglers within Afghanistan and the remaining going to regional smugglers and supplier commissions.



The reconstruction of Afghanistan’s security forces, civilian government institutions, economy, and civil society has cost the US government 145 billion dollars and 20 years. According to the Department of Defense (DOD), 837 billion dollars have been spent on the war in Afghanistan throughout the years, according to estimates from other resources, such as journalists, court cases, and inspectors general, at least 30% of contract money was lost to corruption or waste, according to a report from the 2011 Commission on Wartime Procurement. A description of how the $108 billion that the US Department of Defense spent on contracts for projects carried out in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2022 is broken down Nearly 41% of this, or $44 billion, went to the top 14 corporations. Over the course of the 20-year span, these firms each got contracts worth over $1 billion. Following Fluor Corporation, which made $13.5 billion, were Dyncorp ($8.3 billion in contracts), which was the second-largest earner, and KBR (also known as Kellogg, Brown, and Root), which earned $3.6 billion. For more refer to (figure 2), as well as, war economy, and corruption economy which I will discuss in my future articles.

Figure 2: DOD Contracts spending in Afghanistan F2002 – F2022

Source:  Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)


A SIGAR estimate puts the total amount donated by the United States alone at $145 billion in development aid over the past 20 years. As noted by SIGAR, there are significant allegations of “waste, fraud, and abuse” against US reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Also, the internal corruption has poured millions of dollars into the pockets of commanders, generals cooperating with the government group, and political extortions, which at the same time have caused: almost 2 million people to flee from Afghanistan after the fall of the republic, and it is still going on; according to the UN, more than 500 thousand people have become unemployed; almost 70 percent to 80 percent of the country’s population depends on international aid; and the majority of the country’s population is registering to join the labor markets of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and so forth.




History provides a wide range of understandings and probable lessons for the generations and what follows, yet the distinctions between the past and the present must be kept in mind and factored into any findings and recommendations. In Afghanistan, the main losers are actually the people of Afghanistan, who failed to form their own governments that have to represent the wider interests of Afghanistan, but rather a more specific agenda, primarily ruled by external factors without considering the balance internally, such as defining our vital national interests and acting united as a true nation. The chaos will persist as it has since 1973 if the new generation of Afghans does not get involved in shaping their future by defining what is considered a vital national interest where everyone can be treated equally and a unified policy in terms of governance, economic system, military system, trade, etc.



Conspiracies and Atrocities in Afghanistan, 1700-2014, book by Eng. Fazel Ahmad.


Rosenberger, Leif, “The Afghan Civil War: Root Cause, Economic Impact and Prospects for Reconciliation”. MAY 22, 2019, THESTREET,


Afghanistan Analysts Network, “Afghanistan’s Anti-Corruption Institutions: Too Many, and with Too Few Results” May 19, 2019.


Sieff, Kevin “Karzai Acknowledges CIA Payments.” Washington Post, May 4, 2013


N°329, Asia Report. “Taliban Restrictions on Women’s Rights Deepen Afghanistan’s Crisis.” www.crisisgroup.org

Schroden, Jonathan, “Afghanistan’s Security Forces Versus the Taliban: A Net Assessment”, Combating Terrorism Center, JANUARY 2021, VOLUME 14, ISSUE 1,


ANI News. “Taliban Money Trail: How Funding Continued over 20 Years,” September 9, 2021.


UNDOC, “Afghanistan Opium Survey 2021 – Cultivation and Production “, March 2022, p. 53.


Afghanistan Analysts Network. “The Kabul Bank Tribunal: An Exercise in Containment”, March 9, 2013.


The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (en-GB). “The Afghan Officials’ Families with Luxury Pads in Dubai,” April 11, 2019.


Department, State. “Forging Afghanistan’s National Unity Government.”  (accessed March 12, 2023).


VINE, DAVID. “Where in the World Is the U.S. Military?” www.politico.com

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.

Your cart is currently empty.