Afghanistan: Anarchy in Practice
In this globalized world, time and space are shrinking with the advent of technologies. But the prevailing global interconnections are creating some irreversible collision among the sovereign units, which suggest that this Liberal democratic world became so complicated and peculiar that at this stage no one can control anything, not even superpower. Though they can regulate to some extent but can’t control. Most of the sovereign units are running on democratic principles; nevertheless, there are still several unregulated territories are operating, which is a major concern for democratic nations to deal with them. Hence, these territories provide a breeding ground for illegal activities due to the absence of law and order in that particular area. Most critical of among those territories is the Afghanistan, which became a hub of illicit trade and drug trafficking as well as the global source of terroristic movements.
Afghanistan is not only posing severe hurdles to neighbouring countries, but it is a menace to global peace. Notwithstanding, a full-fledged Afghan government, Taliban are accompanying with Al-Qaeda is the major key players in the region. They entirely disregard the policies of the government, also seeks to counterbalance the power politics in its favour. In praxis, there is no indivisible supreme authority with the capability to command over the whole territory which renders sufficient space for anarchy and turbulence in the region. This implies that afghan, as a state, failed to administer in its real sense. Consequently, it inflates the mystery to classify the nature of Afghanistan to have a meaningful analysis. Presently, Ashraf Ghani, the successor of Hamid Karzai leading the country since 2014, which signifies that Afghanistan is not a completely failed state; instead, it has some fragmented parts. This inefficiency of the state to govern according to global norms is disrupting the peace and also serve as a reservoir of illegal activities. The attack of 9/11 is a suitable example of lawlessness accompanying with the grave consequences of outgrowth of terrorism. Briefly, the geographical terrain in and around the afghan region gives a very suitable space for terrorists to flourish and hide. Hence, these non-state actors are striving to expand their magnetism to the neighbouring countries, which may prompt major security implications for the bordering countries primarily for CAR due to the weak political system and porous borders. Similarly, India is also affected by radical and extremist tendencies that stem from volatile Afghanistan. Moreover, India commenced pursuing its interests in Afghanistan with the well-established engagement. Therefore, India needs to pedal carefully to remain intact in the Taliban headed Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Failed or Fragmented state?
Afghanistan is known for the history of invasion following with its internal strife and open- ended battle that is intensifying the situation even further without any foreseeable end. All the international efforts have been ineffective to render any useful explication of the conflict chiefly because of ethnic clashes among the civilians and Pakistani interferences. As a consequence, this engendered into convulsions and disruptions within Afghanistan. The instability and the legacy of the Taliban is also a major cause of conflict which leaves no option for the government to execute any practical solutions. However, it is quintessential to identify the speculations behind the germination of non-state actors, nonetheless the world’s most potent military interventions. Why only Afghanistan, not Pakistan or Central Asia or any other region of the world? This question diverts the attention to diagnose the nature of Afghanistan as a state first.
According to Max Weber, the territorial boundary of the country is governed by an exclusive sovereign authority termed as government or state (Gauba, 2009). However, in the case of Afghanistan, not only the state but the non-state actors also regulating different territorial area within a country. There are numerous autonomous units operating to stretch their influence over the territory. This signifies that Afghanistan failed to perform the process of law and governance efficiently. In short, the Afghan government failed to comply with all the principal features of the state, which indicates that power is divided among various stakeholders primarily where the state is weak, fragmented or in extreme cases failed (Barfield, 2010). Hence, it is incompetent for the state to exert authority over all actors within the borders of the state. Mainly if there are non-state armed actors who are maintaining autonomous character mostly by force, then it is almost impossible for the government to execute any order in that region (Rotberg, 2005). On the other hand, Afghanistan has elected president including a political system which restrains us from distinguishing Afghanistan as a failed state.
Hamid Karzai was the first Democratically elected president of Afghanistan and subsequentially his successor Ashraf Ghani is leading the country since 2014 (Nick B. Mills, 2007). It exhibits that Afghanistan has unusual features of the state but not complying with all the authentic features of a nation-state. However, it is imprecise to delineate Afghan as a failed state; instead, it shows the symptoms of fragmentation. Therefore, there is a need to crystalize the understanding of failed state and fragmented state to have a feasible conclusion. State failure is a difficult situation where state agency ceases to operate entirely or partly. In Afghanistan, the circumstances are more similar to the fragmented state where the so-called illegal non-state actors have a significant role to play accompanying with state authorities. Lastly, non-state actors do not acknowledge the hierarchy of authorities which eventually drives to the anarchy and lawlessness within a state.
The threat for Democratic World Order
In the 21st century, the world regulates on the orbit of liberal principles. The post-soviet era with a twist from fixed to flexible exchange rate system gave enormous space to flourish the liberalism or in another way globalization to its zenith. Globalization not only demands the flexible economy but also requires a stable political system for its growth. In contrast, the political system of Afghanistan is precarious and led to the outgrowth of baneful factors. The politically destabilize country consists of numerous Clan leaders, which are the main components of the political fabric of the country. The presence of these clans with diverse and distinct social beliefs and norms paves the way of the tussle. Besides, the existence of external forces since the last half-century also contributing to antagonize the culture and ignited the growth of extremist ideologies. Ever since millions of dollars and human resources has been injected, but the story remains unchanged.
Gradually, Afghanistan became the hub of transnational organized crimes with the support of highly sophisticated weapon systems. Mostly, the funding for these activities is obtained with the help of illicit financial flows and the narco trade estimated around $400 in 2018. The growth of the illicit trade in Afghanistan is indestructible, and the country is now the origin of around 90% of the global supply of heroin (Gregorian, 2020). This opium poppy cultivation is one of the primary sources of livelihood in the region. On the other hand, it also serves as a platform to establish strong linkages among the farmers and illegal outsourcing agents, furthermore undermines the credibility of state authorities. These illegitimate connections deviate and alienate the civilians from state apparatuses and inclined them towards the radical or jihadist ideologies. The “Idea of Jihad” befuddles the individual to the extent that they can be used as a suicide bombers in the name of sacrifice. Therefore, the suicidal tactics became one of the unbeatable apocalyptic methods to perpetrate terror on a broader aspect. Moreover, these new tactics bashing the U.S. and NATO to reassess its counterterrorism measures and policies to secure peace and stability. Since the last two decades, the U.S. analysts and policymakers are incompetent to design the concrete path of victory despite the persistent multilateral engagements and consistent failure, eventually leading to an unsettled withdrawal of U.S. forces in a desultory manner.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the conflict status of Afghanistan is still getting worse notwithstanding multilateral peace talks among prominent leaders and stakeholders, which may undermine the future prospects of any settlement and inter-afghan mediations. Furthermore, the stage of reconciliation after year-long consultations once again lost its sanctity with the emergence of a global pandemic and declining interest of the Taliban. However, the Afghan crisis sinking a massive amount of human and financial resources following with the unprecedented deaths and casualties to settle the battle. Consequentially, it became a global solicitude to safeguard Afghanistan from turning into a terrorist safe haven. Terrorism and extremism are dangerous for all nations around the world. Also, the drug mafia within Afghanistan is posing a hard blow, domestically and internationally and expanding its root in the region due to its lawlessness. The development of these illegal movements within Afghanistan and around the region raises serious security concerns for the world, can also break off the stability and impede the global economic growth. Lastly, it can be said that without any focused effort to dismantle the unauthorized trade and activities, Afghanistan will continue to captivate the corruption and violence that have plagued the world throughout the turbulent history. Henceforth, it is essential to track the development process in Afghanistan and harmonize the situation with the help of the U.S. and other NATO allies to sustain a peaceful world order.
Security Implications on CAR
As it has been previously stated that Afghanistan is a war-torn nation and its devastating repercussions left the economy crumbled. This economic insufficiency plus unemployment constrain civilians to join the militancy groups. These groups have very active linkages from the Islamic world, especially from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia moreover, they were creating robust linkages to extend their scope in the other bordering countries to harbour themselves during the crisis. Additionally, they also try to woo the civilians of other nations in the name of holy wars.
Afghanistan crisis became a global threat due to the mounting narco trade and outreach of terrorist. Historical pieces of evidence reveal that religious extremism provides the base for terrorism while ultimately, Afghanistan is surrounded by the hard-core Islamic countries. Consequentially, the threat is not only confined to Afghanistan; slightly, it has flooded the neighbouring countries with severe repercussions. Most affected is Central Asia the immediate neighbours of Afghanistan, which provides a substantial base for the terrorist to deceive and accomplish their goals along with Pakistan’s strategic support. Central Asia’s corrupt bureaucracy and weak political system present ample possibilities to prosper the so-called unauthorized activities without any legal risk vis a vis militant groups in Afghanistan are also forming a very close nexus with the neighbouring countries to acquire human and financial resources, especially in CAR.
The threats emanating from Afghanistan is not only using Central Asia as a breeding ground for subversive activities; somewhat, it is also ruining the indigenous culture of these countries. Afghanistan is posing multifaceted economic, political and cultural challenges to the CAR because of the defective political system. The unsteady civic institutions of Central Asia and regional conflict gives leverage to infiltrators to operate under their nose. Besides, religious extremism, ethnic divisions, drug trafficking, illicit trade, and the supply of deadly weapons is the major security threats instigated by Afghanistan. Further, Central Asian routes are used for the opium trade, which is a major source of funding for the Afghan warlords. Moreover, the unresponsive governments of the region failed to harmonies the situation for better economic growth which is worrisome for the major trading partners, including India. Henceforth, the failing economies and the lack of a powerful motivation to engage with India is obstructing the fruits of mutual benefits.
India’s engagement with Afghan’s and Afghanistan
India and Afghanistan hold deep cultural linkages which can be traced back to antiquity simultaneously with the trade relations which proceeded in fragmented layers with the rise and fall of different regimes. This deep-rooted mutual connection underwent a major setback since the partition accompanied with organized stifling by Pakistan. Unquestionably, Afghanistan holds a vital status from the perspective of India’s security calculus. The vitality of Afghanistan for India are not precisely because of Pakistan but proportionately , if not more vital, attached to India’s aspiration to be and to be seen as a major player in the region. Besides, the undeniable fact is that India has always seen Afghanistan as a viaduct to extend its strategic reach beyond south Asia. However, Strategic calculations are not the sole factor; slightly, various other underlying factors are also responsible for India’s direct engagement with Afghanistan.
Firstly, due to the close alliance of mujahideen with ISI (Intelligence agency of Pakistan), Afghanistan poses serious security challenges to India. On the other hand, Pakistan has continuously tried to stimulate the turmoil in the Kashmir to disorientate the region from India, which is a primary cause of the contentious relationship between India and Pakistan. Islamabad also using Afghanistan as a vault of insurgent groups and trained them with core military tactics to meet the perverted interests against India. Pakistan is using Afghanistan, as a launchpad for training and sending Islamic militants to Kashmir. Hence, the stability of Afghanistan is the primary concern of India from Kashmir’s perspective.
Secondly, India’s engagement with Afghanistan strongly motivated with friendly gestures to advance more excellent regional stability in entirely coincides with Kautilya’s Rajamandala theory (Circle of States). Although, the world is quite different now in comparison to the Kautilya’s age (Boesche, 2002)but the geopolitical scenario of the Afpak region utterly compatible with his theory. This theory illustrates the bordering nation (i.e., Pakistan) as a hostile and the country which has aligned borders to a hostile country (i.e. Afghanistan) is a natural ally (In case of India). Accordingly, it is imperative for India to maintain a cordial relation with Afghanistan. Additionally, India can use Afghanistan to keep a check on Pakistan to dismantle the Mujahideen’s sheltered by Pakistan from time to time.
Thirdly, India’s economy is proliferating to satisfy the daily demands of the nation, following with an ambition to become a global power. To sustain this economic growth, India needs an uninterrupted supply of energy resources which can be complemented by CAR. Therefore, Afghanistan can provide a viable transit route to Central Asia to tap the unexplored chunk of energy reserves to relieve India’s energy thirst. India can utilize Afghanistan as a gateway to access Central Asian markets and to enhance energy and economic collaboration to foster the dream of South and Central Asian connectivity.
Though gradually India has advanced its position in Afghanistan with the projection of soft power and infrastructure development. This makes India as one of the largest donors to Afghanistan, which can be manifested through milestone projects concluded by India like Delaram-Zaranj
Highway, transmission lines, Salma Dam and a parliament building in Kabul. On the other aspects, India is also cementing its position through soft power in the field of education, medical and most significantly the passion for Indian cinemas. In spite of that, India needs to recalibrate its approach to root itself as a major player in the Taliban headed Afghanistan. It is also equally significant for India to obstruct the emergence of any radical regime in Afghanistan to pacify the whole South Asian Region.
Over the decades, Afghanistan became more volatile than it was ever before. The rationale behind this is not the external force rather internal radicalization targeted on vulnerable groups in and around the region. The insurgent groups have different origins and motives which is stretching across the South Asian Region and its more threatening for the neighbouring countries in particular, whereas the bordering nations around Afghanistan provide the source of shelter and various other assistance anonymously. The most unstable among them is the CAR which also became an alternate transit route for the contraband products. To sum up, it can be said that internally fractured central Asia needs to captivate the foreign investment and strengthen the security measures to overcome the crisis. The effects of the catastrophe are not only confined to bordering nations; preferably, it has also elongated to the Indian soil at a full-scale. This signifies that India has to contain numerous direct and indirect security challenges arising from Afghanistan, which derailed the bilateral progress between Central Asia and India.
Barfield, T. (2010). Afghanistan a cultural and political history. New Jersey: Princeton University Press Princeton & Oxford.
Boesche, R. (2002). The First Great Political Realist: Kautilya and His Arthashastra. Maryland: Lexington Books.
Gauba, O. (2009). An Introduction to Political Theory. New Delhi: Macmillan.
Gregorian, D. H. (2020, 03 21). Trialogue. Retrieved from Institute of World Affairs:
Nick B. Mills, N. D. (2007). Karzai: The Failing American Intervention and the Struggle for Afghanistan. New Jersey: John & Wiley sons.Rotberg, R. I. (2005). State Failure and State Weakness in a Time of Terror. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution press