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.