This is a comparative analysis of state building in Afghanistan by the monarchy in the 1890s and the Taliban in the 1990s. The author identifies remarkable historical trends and dynamics of state building that reveal deep fault-lines through the political and inter-ethnic relations within Afghanistan. The role of Afghan Hazara war of the 19th century deeply influenced the course and tactics of the 20th century conflict, and through this clear lessons can be learned. One of the major weaknesses of Afghan governments, for example, is the lack of capacity or political will to accommodate the opposition through political settlement. As a result, political manipulation and social segmentation endure.
Working Paper No. 42 (series 2), London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 23 pp.