‘Installing’ democracy in Afghanistan


back to issue

Imagination is a poor substitute for experience.

– Havelock Ellis

TO many scholars, practitioners and interested minds, Afghanistan is an experiment. That experiment pertains to the international community’s ability to install democracy in a context characterized by more than two decades of sustained conflict. Indeed, a reference to the twenty odd years of conflict preceding the commencement of the international community’s experiment is frequently, if not inevitably, employed at the beginning of any publication on Afghanistan to emphasize the sheer number of issues that need to be tackled in order to initiate human development through, so the wisdom goes, the erection of democratic structures of governance.

While there is merit in emphasizing the consequences of internal as well as internationalized armed conflict on the current reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, the ‘past’ before the international project commenced in the aftermath of 11 September 2001 is only one aspect which bears an impact on the outcome of the experiment. In contradistinction to those highlighting the 23 years of conflict, it may be time to abandon traditional rhetoric and zoom in on the six years that have passed since the experiment started under great military euphoria caused by the rapid, in retrospect temporary, defeat of the Taliban regime.

After all, six years after the ‘liberation’ of Afghanistan from an authoritarian regime, the notion of democracy is not one easily referred to when describing today’s political realities. That most Afghans cheerfully welcomed the democratic idea, after the post-Taliban era was initiated, is not to be denied. But few observers would dispute that Afghans today are at the very least frustrated with the democratization project that has brought them little but an abstract illusion amidst a sad reality.

With growing suspicion about the magical power of democracy, the noble concept itself is increasingly challenged as a flawed pretext for western intervention that bears little resemblance with the very democratic idea of participation and public accountability. The Afghan public has certainly not displayed a lack of patience but that patience, amidst a growing number of civilian casualties and of little benefit is coming to an end. Which ultimately begs the question as to whether democracy can and even should be ‘enforced’ in Afghanistan. Why should the international community pursue an idea that has brought no or little change to Afghan life and hence alienated itself from the desires of many constituting the very demos?

Yet, that has been the approach taken by the international community and its agencies, be they western donors, the United Nations or International Financial Institutions, since the mid-1990s. With this consensus in mind, even though the international system itself remains far from being democratic, post-conflict reconstruction efforts by the international community have increasingly been linked to broader political ambitions of state-building and democratization.


These ambitions, however, infrequently answer to the people who are intended to be democratized, but instead primarily to those who are concerned about the security implications of ‘failed states’. While political rhetoric often implies that the promotion of democracy is essentially important as an instrument to create peace and stability for international security, the human security of the population does not always seem to be the focal point of democratization efforts. The success of democratic transition is usually measured by the stability of institutions and not by the decrease of pervasive threats to people’s life. Furthermore, when democracy is ‘from the outside-in’,1 it could leave those who should be at the heart of the matter, namely the people being subjected to a state-building endeavour, with little participation or say in the design of a political system that, at least in its philosophical foundation, is centred around the very idea of the peoples’ will. In other words, non-democratic means (imposition) are being used to implant a system of governance in defiance of its core principle and imperative: that the people concerned should decide for themselves and retain ultimate ownership about the means and ends they seek. Thus, from a human security perspective, a problematic aspect of democratization efforts by the international community is its interventionist character.


Besides the criticism that imposition of models from outside is a paternalistic behaviour, the legitimacy and effectiveness of the model of a democratic peace itself, for post-conflict situations, is questionable. In principle, democratization poses an alternative to violence by encouraging the resolution of disputes through the political process. But in practice democratic institutions, with an essentially competitive character, have often failed to resolve conflicts and in some cases have even aggravated them.2 In post conflict situations, the danger is that societies may be faced with the destabilizing effects of democratization, without having developed the institutional capacity to manage these instabilities.3 Often national resources are inadequate to implement this model and it befalls on the UN and other international donors to spend large amounts of money to hold elections, organize constitutions and parliaments, which society itself is unable to absorb. Yet, experience has shown that despite massive investment, some of the peace-building missions of the UN have failed to establish liberal democracy although they largely end wars.

Despite the shortcomings and the dilemmas, however, peace building through democratization should not be renounced completely as an idea and as a practice. A first step to make democratization efforts beneficial to human security is a thoughtful analysis of the particularity of each conflict, and the study of norms and processes of each society that might have traditionally furthered human security. Then democratic mechanisms have to be adapted to the particular needs of a community, not the community to an ideal of a democratic system.


The state-building and democratization process in Afghanistan is said to have started with the US-led military campaign, known as Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), to defeat the Taliban in October 2001. On the 5th of December 2001, one month after the fall of the Taliban regime, talks brokered by the UN resulted in the Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan Pending the Re-establishment of Permanent Government Institutions at a conference in Bonn which laid out a roadmap for Afghanistan’s political transition to democratic rule. The process envisaged in Bonn was built on the international community’s assumption that a democratic and representative state would allow Afghans to exit the vicious cycle fuelled by a history of internal armed conflict, natural disasters and underdevelopment as well as foster stability in the region, ultimately depriving terrorism of its seeds.

Under the terms of the Bonn agreement, major Afghan factions formed an interim 30-member administration until the convening of an emergency Loya Jirga, or grand council, in June 2002. The Loya Jirga chose an interim government and established procedures for adopting a new constitution, which was adopted in January 2004. The swift pace of the formal process, perceived to be necessary to introduce democracy, continued with the holding of presidential elections in October 2004 and parliamentary elections in September 2005. Despite some constitutional deficiencies as to the lack of district council elections, the Bonn roadmap was declared accomplished in late 2005.


Given however that the consolidation of gains achieved was still deemed necessary, a new framework for the international community’s assistance was conceived at a major international conference in London in early 2006. The Afghanistan Compact, the successor to the Bonn framework, defined the parameters of cooperation for the international community’s engagement in Afghanistan and solicited roughly 10.5 billion US dollars in pledges in London. Corresponding to the perception (‘misperception’) that the democratic state-building exercise had been finalized with the holding of elections, the focus shifted from offering a rudimentary roadmap with tight timelines for concrete milestones (establishment of interim administration, adoption of constitution, holding of elections) to a more substantive approach. The priorities outlined in the Compact, as well as the national development strategy elaborated in parallel (Interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy I-ANDS) were seeking to accelerate development, increase security, tackle the drug trade, and strengthen governance.

These strategies identified what they called ‘three critical and interdependence areas or pillars of activity’ to guide action for the next five years: (i) a security pillar, seen as a priority, and concentrating on strengthening the national army and police and cooperating with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); (ii) a governance, rule of law and human rights pillar to help ‘develop Afghanistan into a stable and mature Islamic constitutional democracy where the three branches of government would provide the necessary checks and balances on each other’; and (iii) a third economic and social development pillar, bent on building a ‘liberal market economy’ through the inevitable ‘enabling environment for the private sector to generate legitimate profits and pay reasonable taxes’ (Government of Afghanistan 2006). A further vital and cross-cutting area was eliminating the narcotics industry, which was said to remain as a formidable threat to the people and state of Afghanistan, the region and beyond. Yet, neither were the linkages between these sectors sufficiently explored, nor were they seen from the point of view of their human impact.


The checklist of what institutions a sovereign democratic state needed was designed at Bonn, with a precise timetable and sequencing guidelines. On paper, the Bonn Agreement and its roadmap were fulfilled within the timetable set out. First, a constitution was crafted in January 2004, laying the formal groundwork for the establishment of democratic institutions through popular suffrage. The international community ensured (largely through financing) that a participatory process for the drafting of the constitution was as crucial as its content. A Constitutional Review Commission was set up consisting of a 33 member body representing the country’s diverse regional and ethnic composition (including 7 women) appointed by President Karzai. The commission collected 100,000 questionnaires from citizens, its members attended about 555 so-called ‘public consultation meetings’ in all 32 provinces of Afghanistan as well as in Iran and Pakistan to consult with the large refugee community and to begin to address the general lack of understanding.

To adopt the final draft, a constitutional Loya Jirga with 506 delegates, including representatives of a so-called ‘special category groups’, women, refugees in Pakistan and Iran, IDPs, Kuchis, Hindus and Sikhs, was convened for three weeks at the end of 2004. Televised debates showed spirited discussions, with debates veiling factional interests dominated by mujahideen and warlords. Despite public discussions under international limelight, however, international human rights groups and local Afghan journalists reported that decisions were ‘agreed upon’, often through physical intimidation of delegates, vote-buying, death threats and backroom decisions. Finally, the Constitution itself stood witness to the compromises that had to be brokered on all sides to find common denominators among the various political interests represented by the delegates.


The final draft of the constitution itself, with its recognition that Afghanistan is an ‘Islamic democracy’ solicited concerns among some western legal scholars for the protection it provided to Sharia law. That there was a specific provision on freedom of religion was seen as potentially overriding the other provisions in human rights documents. The Afghans however proved less knowledgeable about what was at sake. According to a Tufts survey conducted in 2004, the majority (>50%) of rural Afghans in Badghis, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, and Nangarhar provinces had no knowledge of the constitutional process. Rural women were four times less likely to be aware of the constitutional process than rural men. No rural women interviewed in three provinces of Herat, Kabul, and Badghis had ever heard of a constitution.4 

The Constitution exhorted for both the parliamentary and presidential elections to be convened simultaneously within six months after the convening of the Loya Jirga. However, in view of growing security concerns fuelled by numerous terrorist incidences and logistical difficulties, a decision was finally made to conduct presidential elections on October 9th, while postponing parliamentary elections to September 2005.


As expected, the political environment in a post-conflict situation posed difficult challenges to the holding of the October 2004 elections. It was repeatedly stressed that ill timed, hurried, badly designed or poorly run elections could actually undermine the process of democratization in fragile post-conflict environments before national political issues had progressed. But elections had to be organized, true to the post-intervention blueprints followed by the international community. The latter argued that elections would provide an entry point for public participation in the democratization process while providing support and legitimacy to the political tenants of the new government.

The timing was also crucial so as to coincide with the presidential elections in the US, where the success of Afghanistan could boost the popularity of the incumbent president. While 16 candidates, including a female, were fielded, from the outset, Karzai stood at an advantage through his strong US backing, his use of government resources for election purposes, the division among his opponents and, above all, the predominant fear that with a Pashtun majority population, a non-Pashtun candidate would threaten Afghanistan’s internal unity. For the international community, the presidential elections were heralded as the country’s ‘first-ever democratic presidential election’, a milestone on the long, often hard road to freedom and democratic government.


The next milestone, parliamentary and provincial elections held on 18 September 2005 were among the first organized since the decade of constitutional monarchy in Afghanistan (1963-1973). As a result, 249 members were elected to represent the Afghans at the Wolesi Jirga (House of People, the lower house of the parliament) to complement an upper chamber (Meshrano Jirga, House of Elders) whose members were appointed in equal numbers by the president, by provincial councils, and by district councils. Roughly 27 per cent of the seats in the lower chamber and 17 per cent in the upper chamber were reserved for women, in noticeable contrast to the executive. Despite shortcomings, such as the fact that a number of former warlords and even Taliban members found themselves in parliamentarian seats, the potential for the legislature to develop a national debate and to draw the regions to the centre was seen as a genuine hope for Afghanistan. International monitoring agencies were especially hopeful that, as an International Crisis Group Report claimed, ‘[a]mid growing disillusionment at the pace of political and economic reconstruction, this is the forum from which to start managing expectations and hearing the priorities of the Afghan people.’5 

Both in its current form and throughout its history, Afghanistan has not lacked in political parties. If, at the end of 2001, the groupings could be simply divided into political factions divided into three major groups, i.e., the Northern Alliance (which included the Jamiat-i-Islami, a predominantly ethnic Tajik group led by former president Burhanuddin Rabbani; the Shurai-Nizar, composed of Panjshiri Tajiks who were followers of the late Ahmad Shah Masud; Jambish-i-Melli, a predominantly ethnic Uzbek militia led by General Rashid Dostum; and Hezb-i-Wahadat, a predominantly Hazara militia led by Mohammad Karim Khalili), the Rome Group (composed primarily of followers of the king, who was in exile in Rome) and Peshawar parties (consisting of those resistance groups that fought against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s out of Peshawar). One of the results of the democratization process has been the explosion of political alliances and the birth of more parties in Afghanistan.


By latest accounts of July 2007, there were more than 70 political parties officially registered with the Ministry of Justice,6 despite Article 35 of the Constitution and a political parties law which bars the registration of parties that have links to armed groups. The large amalgam of parties today include older parties that were originally organized essentially as military militias, parties formed around the presidential candidates in 2003, ethnic-based parties, religious ones, nationalists, leftists, and a host of parties defending various ‘democratic’ issues, youth, women, democracy, civic education, ecology etc. To these can be added coalitions among pro-democracy organizations that multiplied since the beginning of the 1990s among the diaspora, mainly in Germany.


And yet, ironically, despite their multitude and potential, the formal, and constructive, participation of political parties’ participation in the new democratic system is non-existent, especially through the one channel where they could play an important role: The National Assembly. The 2005 legislative elections adopted a single non-transferable voting system which excluded political parties, vital for mediating tensions in a democratic parliament. In the absence of a formal role for political parties, proceedings are often dominated by powerful warlords (now called ‘power-brokers’) often relying on ethnic politics. The ban on political parties to stand in the parliamentary elections reflected instead the highly personalized nature of Afghan politics.

Lack of a constructive space for political parties can also hamper the growth of these organizations into mature agents of change needed in a democracy. In the absence of political alliances built along defined programmes and platforms: scattered ethnic tendencies, corruption, nepotism and bargaining will continue to permeate most of the judicial, administrative and electoral structures, threatening not only the democratization process and its institutions of checks and balances, but also the political unity of Afghanistan as a whole.

The potential for political parties is further hampered by the perpetual problem of funding. On the one hand, parties cannot levy sufficient resources from their membership fees, publications or donations, subjecting them to the precariousness and short term funding of international donors. On the other hand, however, support by donors, which was small to begin with but nevertheless symbolic (mostly on the part of the US democracy promotion NGOs such as the National Democratic Institute, UNAMA and the governments of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Britain) has now been aggravated by a new Political Parties Law which prohibits the parties from accepting any financial support from abroad. What will happen now in Afghanistan has been witnessed in Central Asia since the 1990s: the metamorphosis, at least on paper, of political parties as civil society organizations that stand a better chance of receiving international NGO and donor funding.


Yet, if the international community only looks out for civil society organizations in the associative forms such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), it would also miss out on another highly colourful scene in the traditional society of Afghanistan, a complex web of informal networks based on blood, kinship, tribal, religious, cultural, and ethnic ties: A variety of local community councils referred to as Shuras or Jirgas used as a tool for negotiations, dispute resolution and dialogue, as well as religious leaders and councils (Ulamas), which played a prominent role during the resistance to the Soviet Union, all continue to exert considerable influence in society. Formal NGOs were mainly established only from the late 1980s onwards, when funding was available for emergency and humanitarian projects, and since the post-Taliban years, for advocacy on women’s and human rights, peace building or civic education. The rich networks of Afghan ‘civil society’, with the resilience it showed during decades of conflict, is yet to be understood and reconciled with by the international community, uneasy as it is with traditional informal institutions.


In the meantime, to most Afghans, the ‘state-building milestones’ in the shape of formal institutions of democracy remain illusionary and remote. The Bonn Agreement, the Afghanistan Compact and all other blueprint instruments of the international community put more emphasis on the process and less on the substance with which a democratic state of Afghanistan was to be built. By being formalistic and institution-based, they remained far away from the daily realities of the people within Afghanistan and thus symptomatic of top-down exercises which hoped to generate the necessary ‘buy-in’.

The utilization of Loya Jirgas as means to enhance the legitimacy of the transitional government and the adoption of the Constitution could only, to a limited extent, substitute for representative public participation. While trust may gradually be forged through instigating reforms and pursuing a visible democratization process, the transition in Afghanistan remains far too complex for enabling a democratic environment within which the people can ‘live’ in view of massive underdevelopment, corruption, insecurity, and the prevailing influence of powerful commanders benefiting from the drug-economy, exploitation of ethnic pretexts, and regional interests. Thus, to many Afghans, democracy certainly remains appealing in principle, but still a dream that has been born in Bonn and yet to be lived in their homes.

That remoteness particularly applies to more than half of the Afghan population. Only a handful of women, largely restricted to Kabul, have benefited from increased opportunities in vocations and education. The vast majority of Afghan women remain illiterate and uneducated. They continue to suffer from violence and oppressive traditions despite Afghanistan’s accession to the CEDAW in 2003 and progressive equality provisions in the Constitution. Girls’ schools, a symbol of the ‘liberation’ efforts of the international community, have been set on fire by reactionary forces, and women’s access to health care is restricted by lack of infrastructure and patriarchal traditions. Though illegal, forced and under-age marriages are still common.


Frustration is also rising with regards to the benefits of elections as a means of ensuring participatory and responsible approaches to governance. The low turnout at the parliamentary elections in September 2005 was an indication of the growing scepticism and disappointment that the Afghans felt in ‘their’ participatory democracy. Nor has any culture of democracy emerged as a consequence of these elections. While political discourse has certainly benefited from the international community’s visible engagement, freedom of speech and media has come under increasing threats by attempts to superimpose Islamic conservatism over liberal individualism. It even appears that the western notion of democracy is considered by many to be incompatible with Islamic principles and traditions, at least to the extent it advocates for individual rights to be placed over religious collectivism.

Tired of two decades of war, ordinary Afghans had been unanimous in their initial desire for stability and progress after the ousting of the Taliban. It was in this hope, and at the outset of a highly mediatized international intervention built on promises of stability and funds for reconstruction, that Afghans were eager to embrace what was in fact presented as their only and attractive choice: western backed leaders (such as Karzai), western backed processes (such as a Constitution which was drafted with foreign experts’ support), and western-backed institutions (such as a Parliament that was resuscitated after 30 years). The sustainability of this western-backed liberal peace, however, appears to be increasingly challenged as the promises dissipate in the face of concrete realities. For those still bent on pursuing the democratization project in Afghanistan, there are at least three serious impediments, without the resolution of which the future of Afghanistan as a state, let alone a democratic one, is endangered. These include the lack of development, lack of reconciliation, and ultimately, on-going combat.


While few would argue with the fact that political insecurity is the main obstacle to Afghanistan’s development, a short term focus on security objectives is however insufficient to address the root causes of chronic human insecurity: massive underdevelopment in all aspects, abuse of power, an absence of the rule of law, and violations of human rights. Despite the imposition of democratic institutional models and the recreation of all the tenets of what a modern state should have, the post-Taliban state has so far been unable to operate as an effective and legitimate state, either from a traditional security point of view (where it would have the Weberian monopoly on the use of force), or from a human security viewpoint (where it would provide for, protect and empower its citizens).

In the midst of blueprints and benchmarks, one soon forgets a crucial point: that national reconciliation has still not taken place. With the ‘liberation’ of Afghanistan from the fanaticism of the Taliban, Afghans were led to believe that the democratization process would bring those who had benefited from war to justice. Moreover, it was assumed that the democratization process would prevent anti-democratic forces from reasserting a political authority that derived from the rule of the gun. While the Mujahedin and Taliban may have initially enjoyed considerable public support at least in the context of their particular initial cause (the fight against Soviet occupation and lawlessness from the ensuing civil war respectively), their respective appeal in the public had long vanished in view of the aberrations that had come with the successful achievement of their raison d’etre. Hence, in late 2001 a certain degree of optimism emerged that those who had gotten used to taking advantage not only of war and lawlessness as well as ethnic rivalries but also a reading of Islam that corroborated their elevated status over other parts of the population (in particular women), would finally be brought to justice, or at least excluded from political life in a democratic future.


However, the international intervention in Afghanistan adopted a rather ambivalent approach towards the Taliban on the one hand, and the Mujahedin fighting alongside the international coalition against them on the other hand. While the former were initially excluded from any state-formation process on the flawed assumption that they would suffer the fate of extinction through Operation Enduring Freedom, some of the latter were given a predominant role in the forging as well as implementation of the Bonn process.

Owing to the misconception at the time that the Taliban were a matter of the past, the Bonn agreement had not been conceived of as an indigenous peace accord, nor had it adequately taken into account the need for a reconciliation process. The lack of representation at that time coupled with the empowerment of Mujahedin forming the Northern Alliance prevented the Bonn talks from laying the foundation for reconciliation and transitional justice. As a result, the Bonn agreement was not an indigenous peace accord in the first place, as it left one of the warring parties, the Taliban, completely out of the possibility of negotiations. In the long term, their marginalization impeded the possibility of reconciliation on the one hand, and led to a false premise that war had been won or settled on the other.


The resurgence of the Taliban in the past two years is therefore of no surprise. The question however is what should be done. Today, President Karzai’s power base rests primarily among a small segment of the population, i.e., educated and moderate Afghans with secular political tendencies. The economic base of these allies, and the police and military capacities of the government are hardly comparable with the economic and military resources of spoilers who are able to generate autonomous revenues from drug cultivation and trafficking. Aware of the national as well as international delicacy of how to tackle issues of transitional justice, the Karzai government has chosen a somewhat non-confrontational path of appeasement in a deliberate attempt to maintain control of power at the centre.

Despite significant public resentment, the Afghan government hence allowed former Taliban leaders and warlords to run for parliamentary elections as well as assume high-ranking functions within the administration. While human rights activists and organizations were calling for holding the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable, the newly established democratic government offered them the opportunity to strengthen their political and economic influence by using the democratic political process to their advantage. It is somewhat ironic that those who are a threat to the democratization process in Afghanistan appear to be mastering the democratic game of generating public ‘support’ and political influence, even though a great deal of it derives from military as well as economic might. By means of narco-dollars, warlords as well as the Taliban keep their armed forces loyal. Rather than being weakened by the ongoing democratization efforts anti-democratic forces are being strengthened with each dollar that is spent.


The entire rationale for international intervention in Afghanistan has mutated over time, much the same way that conflicts in Afghanistan did since the last century, when fighting was status quo while the target kept moving. Initially, Operation Enduring Freedom was conceived as a response to the September 11 attacks to punish those thought to be its instigators (Al Qaeda), and those who harboured them (the Taliban regime). The US-led military campaign grew then in parallel to an international stabilization force, ISAF, which, when handed over to NATO to lead, grew again to add on a humanitarian and development agenda in the battle ‘for hearts and minds’ through civil-military operations know as Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). But as the Taliban was not pacified, resuming increasingly violent activities in the past two years, the military campaign, according to NATO and US officials, has now metamorphosed officially into a counter-insurgency.

The problem of this mutation of the international military engagement, which no doubt was in response to the growing violence on the Afghan side, is that it is also increasingly undermining the other international stream of engagement in Afghanistan, i.e., the efforts of UNAMA with its UN sister agencies and the IFIs on behalf of political stability, democratization, development and reconstruction. The tactics used by the military, not the mildest one has seen in battle, have led to growing civilian deaths and further radicalization of the ‘enemies’. So much so that a new mandate was added to those of the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy, Tom Koenigs, in the summer of 2007: to protect civilians during war. The UN secretary general himself during his June speech at the Rome conference praised the Independent Human Rights Commission for not only documenting past human rights abuses, but also documented ‘distressing instances of civilian casualties resulting from the operation of international forces.’


The US-led military campaign, far from creating the conditions for stability to evolve, is having the opposite effect. Much of the violence that is raging throughout the country is now against the international military presence. Add to that the growing dissatisfaction of the Afghans with the democratization agenda and development assistance, it is possible to argue that violence and insecurity is now a direct result of the international intervention in Afghanistan. The international community has entered a vicious cycle that resembles efforts to extinguish fire with gasoline: the harder one tries, the worse it will get. Thus far, the experiment has failed to generate the ‘buy in’ necessary for it to succeed which is both a symptom as well as a consequence of the international community’s paternalistic understanding of Afghans being primarily the recipients of democracy and not the driving force behind it.


* The views expressed are the personal views of the authors.



1. Jon C. Pevehouse, ‘Democracy From the Outside-in? International Organizations and Democratization’, International Organization 56(3), Summer 2002, pp. 515-549.

2. Robin Luckham, ‘The International Community and State Reconstruction in War-Torn Societies’ in Anja H. Ebnöther, Philipp H. Fluri, After Intervention: Public Security Management in Post-Conflict Societies – From Intervention to Sustainable Local Ownership. Vienna, Geneva, 2005.

3. Roland Paris, At War’s End: Building Peace After Civil Conflicts. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

4. Feinstein International Famine Center, Human Security and Livelihoods of Rural Afghans, 2002-2003. A report for USAID. Tufts University, Boston, June 2004.

5. International Crisis Group, Afghanistan’s New Legislature: Making Democracy Work. Asia Report N 116, May 2006. http://www. crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4108

6. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html