While reading the book Solstice at Panipat by Uday Kulkrani over the last few days, I came across an interesting factoid – Afghanistan as a nation didn’t exist until around 1750, which was when the Persian Shah Nadir Shah was assassinated and the Afghan tribal chiefs got together in a “Loya Jirga” (Grand Assembly), where with the recommendation of a Pir, Ahmad Shah Abdali was made king, and given the title Durr-e-durrani (pearl of pearls).

Even during Abdali’s rule, Afghanistan was not particularly united but was only a loose federation of small tribal states. The country wouldn’t become “united” until the 19th Century when both the Russians and the British sought to develop it as a buffer state as part of the great game.

Given this background, it is no surprise that it has been virtually impossible to impose a National Government in Afghanistan without the support of foreign powers. Will be interesting to see what happens to the country after the US withdraws next year.

One thought on “Afghanistan”

  1. Similar problem with African nations. The identity and loyalties are pegged at the level of the tribe. The straight-lined borders was an overnight job of a British cartographer when he was asked to divide the continent into n-number of nations bringing together warring tribes to sit in the same assembly! It is no wonder that even to this day many of these nations are embroiled in civil war. (Source: Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Shadow of the sun)

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