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From dust to steel? State building in Afghanistan

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Building efficient institutions in an ethnically divided country.
    1. Draw up a new constitution.
    2. The form of the state: The debate over federalism.
    3. The choice of government.
  3. Elections process: Did Afghanistan overpass the ethnic vote?
    1. The constitutional formalities.
    2. Holding the elections as soon as possible.
    3. The outcome of the presidential elections.
  4. Building civil society in divided society.
    1. The problem of legality.
    2. Enabling and obstructing factors for the strengthening of civil society.
  5. Reconstruction and security: Re-establishing order despite insurgency and warlordism.
    1. The remaining fighting in the south and the presence of foreign forces on the territory.
    2. Opposing warlordism and disarming private militias.
    3. Building an efficient Afghan National Army.
  6. Conclusion.

One month after the attacks of September 11, 2001, in October 2001, the United States decided to invade Afghanistan in order to capture AlQaeda mastermind Ossama Ben Laden and to withdraw the Taliban regime. The ?operation enduring freedom? was led by the US, with a majority of forces provided by the Afghan Northern Alliance and supported by NATO members United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand, Italy and Germany. This operation went particularly quick: on November 12, Taliban forces fled from Kabul and the Northern Alliance entered the city on the 13th. Then, ousting the Taliban was finally easy. The hardest occurred to be providing a satisfying reconstruction of the state, with the built of efficient institutions in a democratic frame. Taking into account the troubled Afghan political past, this task would be a lot tougher. Indeed, when the delegates of the coalition met Afghan representatives in Bonn in December 2001 to decide a political process to restore stability and governance to the country, they understood the complexity of the situation. Afghanistan is religiously homogeneous with 80% of Sunni Muslims and 20% of Shia'as. Conversely, the country is ethnically divided. Seven different ethnic groups have been counted, event though there is very little reliable statistics to show the composition of the population.

[...] Commanders with local government position now often channel funds from the foreign aid to their home area.[16] Then, the social effects of warlordism in Afghanistan are considerable. Patronage along sub-ethnic lines by local authorities has aggravated internal divisions and disrupted traditional political arrangements. Consequently, it is important for the state to disarm warlords to undermine their power, but as they entered the institutional system and their power somehow resides in these military forces, it is today very difficult to obtain total co-operation from them. [...]


[...] It is by no means a regime change from authoritarian rule to democracy by internal factors, but in the first line the result of a foreign invasion, and the implementation of a basic democratic structure from the outside. The recent violent incidents in south and east Afghanistan may be one face of an Afghan anti establishment response. The constitutional formalities The constitution adopted by the Loya Jirga, sets up following electoral modi[8]: The lower house (Wolesi Jirga, House of People), consists of 249 seats, all elected, in voting simultaneous, if possible, with presidential elections. [...]


[...] Even though it is not clearly stipulated in text, it is acknowledged that they should be from different ethnical origin than the president to avoid a Pushtun dictatorship. The powers given to the National Assembly were strengthened by an amendment which required its authorisation for measures to create strong and sound administration? and realise ?reforms in the administration system of the country?. The agreed constitution also included a new provision that President is responsible to the nation and the Wolesi Jirga in accordance with this article?. [...]

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