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Charles Tilly and promoting democracy in the "graveyard of the empires" : interpersonal trust networks,… Asey, Ahmad Farid 2012

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 Charles Tilly and Promoting Democracy in the “Graveyard of the Empires”: Interpersonal Trust Networks, Categorical Inequalities and Autonomous Clusters of Power in Afghanistan   by   Ahmad Farid Asey  B.A. (Joint Honours), The University of Waterloo, 2009    A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS   in   The Faculty of Graduate Studies  (Political Science)    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)   September 2012       © Ahmad Farid Asey, 2012   ii  Abstract   This thesis is concerned with illuminating our understanding of the struggles of democracy in Afghanistan through examining some of its obscure, conflicting and neglected dimensions. It utilizes Charles Tilly’s conceptual framework on democratization to postulate that, in order to entrench and sustain the fledgling Afghan democracy and its political institutions, three necessary processes of democratization will have to concurrently take place. These essential dynamics, or alterations as Tilly would like to refer to them, are, in the context of this paper, carving out a political space for, and integrating, the faith-based Civil Society Organizations as the local interpersonal trust networks; insulating public politics from gender- based categorical inequalities; and, de-warlordizing the Afghan politics as a way of decreasing the autonomy of these centres of power. The normative perspective underlying this thesis is that democracy promotion could work in Afghanistan and certain adjustments, mainly Tilly’s alterations, could create conditions that would be conducive to the promotion of democracy in the country.      iii Table of Contents  Abstract  ......................................................................................................................................... ii Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................... iii Acknowledgements  ..................................................................................................................... iv Dedication ...................................................................................................................................... v PART 1 – THE BACKGROUNDER .......................................................................................... 1 1. Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1 2. Promotion or Imposition: The Nexus with Regime Legitimacy and Consolidation ................ 2 3.  Why Does State Capacity Matter? ............................................................................................. 7 4.  The Afghan State: Centre-Periphery Divide, Tribalism and Religion ................................... 8 PART 2 – TILLY: DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIZATION ....................................... 11 1.   Definitions of Democracy ............................................................................................................ 11 2.   Democratization ......................................................................................................................... 13 3.  Integrating Interpersonal Trust Networks into Public Politics ............................................. 13 3.1. Civil Societies ............................................................................................................................. 15 3.2. The Perceived Failure of Pro-Democracy and Service Delivery CSOs ...................................... 17 3.2.1.   Pro-Democracy CSOs...................................................................................................... 17 3.2.2.  Service-delivery CSOs ..................................................................................................... 20 3.2.3.A Case for the Inclusion of Faith-based CSOs ................................................................... 23 3.2.4. Could Europe Offer a Model? Christian Democratic Parties ............................................ 28 4.  Categorical Inequalities and Public Politics: Economy and Gender..................................... 31 4.1. Widespread Poverty in the Country ............................................................................................ 33 4.2. Gender Inequalities ..................................................................................................................... 36 4.2.1.  The Quick Demise of Optimism: The Initial Euphoria .................................................... 37 4.2.2.  The Way Forward: Could Faith-Based CSOs Play a Role ............................................... 40 5. Autonomous Power Clusters and Public Politics: De-Warlordization of Afghan  Politics.... 42 5.1.  Why Do Warlords Exist? ........................................................................................................... 43 5.2.  Post-WWII Europe and Lessons for Afghanistan ...................................................................... 46 PART 3 – BRIEF CONCLUDING REMARKS ...................................................................... 48 WORKS CITED: ........................................................................................................................ 52    iv  Acknowledgements  I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to staff, faculty and graduate students at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Political Science. I would also like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the Canada Graduate Scholarship and the UBC’s Faculty of Arts for the Graduate Award. I am indebted to Dr. Mark Warren whose penetrating and superbly analytical seminar discussions inspired me to write this paper. In addition, I had the privilege of having Dr. Warren as my supervisor. Working with him was an enriching and memorable experience. Special thanks are also owed to Dr. Lisa Sundstrom for acting as the second reader for my thesis, asking insightful and thought-provoking questions and for providing constructive comments. More importantly, I am grateful to my wife, Palwasha, for making innumerable sacrifices and offering support during my educational endeavours. Without her love and encouragement, this thesis would not have been possible.        v Dedication:   To the two women in my life: my wife and my mother. Without your love, this small achievement would not have been possible.    1 PART 1 – THE BACKGROUNDER 1. Introduction In the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan, because of their support for the Al-Qaeda, grabbed international headlines as the de facto base for international terrorists. In October 2001, when their leader, Mullah Omar, refused to extradite Osama bin Laden without any preconditions to the US, the United Nations Security Council condemned Taliban through Security Council Resolution Number 1378 (UNSC 2001). Subsequently, the Bush administration, making the argument that failed states such as Afghanistan had become the breeding and staging ground for international terrorists, spearheaded a multinational military intervention to remove the Taliban from power and destroy Al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. Over time, Afghanistan has developed a reputation as the impenetrable arc of the Himalayas and the graveyard of the empires – perhaps fitting designations not only for the claustrophobic passes that have historically been guarded by the resilient mountain tribes but also for the ultra-conservative, traditional and xenophobic Afghans who defeated the British as well as the Russians who had ventured into the country in the last two hundred years (Tanner 2). But that is history. This time, a new empire, the US – aided by their state-of-the-art laser-guided missiles, B-52 bombers, Special Forces and disgruntled Afghans in the north who had fiercely fought off the Taliban for years – made quick inroads. The Taliban were swiftly ousted from power and mostly driven out of the country. Soon thereafter, ushering in a democratic regime, one that ostensibly followed the American model, became one of the urgent post-invasion state- building priorities for Americans and their allies in the international community. Today, more than ten years after the removal of the Taliban, the Western-installed   2 democratic regime in Afghanistan is faltering on its road to consolidation. This is largely because the democratization project was no mean feat as the country lacked any historical experience with a functioning, sufficiently capable, and broad-based central government. Among other obstacles, the prevalence of a strong centre-periphery divide and the legacy of more than three decades of civil strife would all work in tandem against the consolidation, stabilization, and the reordering of Afghan political and civil institutions under a democratic regime. To illuminate our understanding of the struggles of democracy in Afghanistan, this paper will seek to present the democratization undertaking as a dilemma and examine some of its obscure, conflicting, and neglected dimensions that have come in the way of tangible progress. It will recommend changes to make democratization in Afghanistan more effective and, ultimately, successful. The normative perspective underlying this thesis is that democracy promotion will work in Afghanistan provided certain adjustments are made to make the concept more compatible with the environment there. The theoretic arguments on how to better entrench and sustain the nascent democratic political systems in that country will be largely based on Charles Tilly’s Democracy. The empirical analyses will focus on three necessary processes of democratization in Afghanistan: the potential role of faith-based Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in integrating local interpersonal trust networks, addressing women’s rights issues in insulating public politics from categorical inequalities, and de-warlordization of Afghan politics with a view to keep the autonomous centres of power in check. 2. Promotion or Imposition: The Nexus with Regime Legitimacy and Consolidation  It is believed that democracy profoundly impacts the collective life of citizens and rescues them from the tyrannical rules of nondemocratic regimes (Tilly 6). In the last half of the 20th century, “[a]ll of the main alternatives to democracy either disappeared, turned into eccentric   3 survivals, or retreated from the field to hunker down in their last strongholds” (Dahl 1). This arguably raised the profile of the concept as a better governance model and motivated Western powers, the US in particular, to promote democracy in formerly nondemocratic polities. In Afghanistan, the removal of Taliban’s totalitarian regime created a rare opportunity for democratization. Judging from the model that was introduced in Afghanistan, however, what may have evaded the analysis of international policymakers and advisors – those who designed the Afghan democratic institutions – is that the country had no notable experience with order and governance in its past. In fairness, a modicum of participatory politics did exist in a traditional way but the franchise was limited to tribal leaders, village elders, and members of a certain privileged ethnic group in Afghanistan (Olesen, 29).  In light of the above, while it makes intuitive sense to promote democracy in a polity such as Afghanistan to address some of its sociopolitical ills, not everyone sees the issue that way. For instance, Sorensen (2008) questions the legitimacy of promoting democracy from outside and identifies a contradiction in terms in the very idea of promoting democracy from the outside. He asks “[i]f the core of democracy is that government authority is based in the will of the people and that the people’s representatives are principally empowered by free and fair elections, how can outsiders assume influence on the process in the first place without risking the charge of being undemocratic?” (Sorensen 81). Similarly, Beetham (2009) reviews historical cases to argue that forcible democratization “is intrinsically flawed and self-contradictory… [for two reasons:] the first stems from the democratic logic of self-determination; the second from a consideration of democracy’s preconditions” (446). Subsequently, coercive democratization is expected to fail not only because compelling people to be free violates their sovereignty and infringes upon their self-determination to choose but also subordinates “the process and content   4 of democratization to the interests and priorities of the occupying powers” (Beetham 447). However, a theorist who disagrees with Sorensen and Beetham may contend that external democracy promotion is ultimately about providing the means that empower a local population, Afghans in this case, to disengage from violent mechanisms of expressing differences and helping them pursue deliberative approaches to politics.1 For Afghanistan, a thorny issue that could question the legitimacy of the democratization enterprise is the virtual lack of consultation, at the outset of the project, with the local Afghans on how they wished to proceed with democratization.  It may be further argued that democratization aims to establish systems through which people, all Afghans in this case, would have a say in who will govern them and how they will be governed in the process. 2  1 Mark Warren and Larry Diamond come to mind as proponents of this view.  On this point, Tilly underscores the importance of engaging with the local population to seek their input before changing the political regime of a country. He posits that if we accept that “[d]emocratization means net movement toward broader, more equal, more protected, and more binding consultation” (Tilly 14), then “[e]very viable political entity must reach legitimate decisions – ones accepted by a preponderance of its members” (Tilly 30). He continues, “[e]ven a conquering military power such as the western Allies in Japan and Germany after World War II must bargain extensively with citizens to create a new democratic regime where authoritarians previously ruled” (Tilly 12). Since this maxim was violated in the case of post-Taliban Afghanistan, the use of the term “promotion of democracy” is contentious. 2 Lately, this has become a source of controversy for Afghanistan not only domestically but also internationally. Former Vice President to Karzai, Ahmad Zia Masood and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, have publicly questioned Afghanistan’s presidential system. When they held a meeting with the US Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, in Berlin, Germany the Afghan President’s Office declared Rep. Rohrabacher a persona non grata to Afghanistan and claimed that it would be treasonous for Afghans to meet with foreigners and discuss overhauling the Afghan political systems. For more on this, there are numerous articles circulating online including the following from The Guardian available at   5 On the non-promotion point, it is helpful to note that the Americans first invaded Afghanistan and then sought to entirely restructure the political system of the country. In this regard, what took place in Afghanistan was closer to the second wave post-WWII American imposition of democracy in Germany and Japan rather than a third wave post-Cold War peaceful facilitation and promotion of the democratic model in East European countries. This paper, therefore, contends that the term democracy imposition better describes the democratization enterprise in Afghanistan because it takes into account the lack of consultation with Afghans, and the invasion-first democracy-second dimension of the project there. Determining whether it was promotion or imposition is essential because it has far- reaching implications on the perceived legitimacy of the successor regime. Beetham (2009), for instance, argues that “the legitimacy of a regime in the eyes of its subjects is not something separate from its effectiveness; the two are inter-dependent” (447). Similarly, a brief discussion of legitimacy is also helpful as the concept is tightly linked with the consolidation of democracy. Diamond conceptualizes consolidation as “the process of achieving broad and deep legitimation, such that all significant political actors, at both the elite and mass levels, believe that the democratic regime is the most right and appropriate for their society, better than any other realistic alternative they can imagine” (65, emphasis added). Furthermore, political actors in a democracy must hold all components of it in high regard – “as ‘the only game in town,’ the only viable framework for governing the society and advancing their own interests” (Diamond 65). People would also need to have a sense of admiration for the founding documents of a democracy, such as its constitution, so that when an elected official violates it, they could defend it by punishing the official. In this regard, what is particularly important is the philosophical or logical appeal of the founding texts because this would give people a compelling enough reason   6 to defend the document in the face of violations or non-observances (Diamond 70). Legitimation to Diamond is more than a normative commitment and extends to the realm of the “evident and routinized in behavior” (65). He invokes Dankwart Rustow’s habituation principle for consolidation of democracy which is when “the norms, procedures, and expectations of democracy become so internalized that actors routinely, instinctively conform to the written (and unwritten) rules of the game, even when they conflict and compete intensely” (Diamond 65). Diamond contends that legitimation, routinization, habituation and consolidation are difficult under circumstances where a broad, cross-cutting, normative and behavioral consensus was first not reached with people who are being democratized. This is significant because the would-be-democratized must believe in the tenets of democracy, deem them worthwhile and defensible, and remain loyal, in Juan Linz’s word, to their systems (Diamond 66, 68; Linz 16, 29-30, 36-37). It is this sincere and deep commitment to agreed founding documents that could eventually routinize behaviour and reception towards democracy. The commitment and behavioural routinization would, in turn, produce certainty with regards to the rules of electoral competition for both the political elites as well as the mass public (Diamond 65). In the case of Afghanistan, one could argue that it is for reasons of excluding a significant collective of actors, the Taliban3  3 A counterargument to this point would be that the Taliban were defeated. It was a war, not a negotiation process. However, it is important to bear in mind that it was an asymmetric conflict and the Taliban hardly put up a resistance against the American military might. Badly bruised and barely limping along, they simply could not. In addition, restructuring political systems means redistributing power and involves choosing winners and losers. The Taliban, as the significant collective of actors were summarily excluded from any and all political processes. They came out as the losers, for all intents and purposes.  and other disgruntled Afghans, when designing the Afghan political institutions and its founding Constitution, that routinization of behaviour and respect for the Afghan democratic principles is not where Diamond would want them to be. Thus, this thesis maintains that a culmination of the imposition of democracy and the   7 lack of consultation with the locals have implicated the routinization of behaviour, respect for Afghan political documents and provides partial explanation for why democracy is struggling to take roots in Afghanistan. 3.  Why Does State Capacity Matter?  Tilly identifies state capacity to enforce the rule of law and offer protection to its citizens as an important feature of a democratic regime. Moreover, a country will have to have experienced a steady course of governance before democracy could take hold. He proclaims: “No democracy can work if the state lacks the capacity to supervise democratic decision making and put its results into practice” (Tilly 15). He then proceeds to define state capacity as “the extent to which interventions of state agents in existing non-state resources, activities, and interpersonal connections alter existing distributions of those resources, activities, and interpersonal connections as well as relations among those distributions” (Tilly 16, 34, 161, emphasis added). For countries that have been recently democratized – or, where the democratization efforts are still underway, such as in Afghanistan – the challenge is “whether and how the new democratic practices and institutions can be strengthened or… consolidated, so that they will withstand the tests of time, political conflict, and crisis” (Dahl 2). This challenge is particularly grave considering the fact that state capacity has historically been very weak in Afghanistan.  Tilly cautions that the extremes of very low and very high state capacities run the risk of hindering democracy and undermining democratization (Tilly 16, 184). For instance, the interventions of actors in a high-capacity state could significantly affect “citizens’ resources, activities, and interpersonal connections” which could then breed tyranny if the flow of such resources is decided arbitrarily, particularly when such resources are tied to extractable minerals   8 such as hydrocarbons in the Middle East or South America (Tilly 16, 184). In contrast, in a low- capacity state, state actors may not be able to alter the distribution of resources, activities and connections in a significant way because, among other reasons, the state itself could be divided among petty tyrants (Tilly 16, 184).  Tilly has developed a placement matrix with quadrants that measure regimes on the basis of their state capacity and quality of democracy. They are high-capacity and low-capacity undemocratic and high-capacity and low-capacity democratic (Tilly 20). Tilly predicts that “trajectories toward democracy all pass through that intermediate zone” (184). His description for the low-capacity undemocratic, a quadrant that Afghanistan would fall under, is a regime where “warlords, ethnic blocs, and religious mobilization” prevail, “frequent violent struggle including civil wars” take place, and “multiple political actors including criminals [deploy] lethal force” (Tilly 20). The state capacity in a low-capacity undemocratic state will need to increase through, among other methods, gaining control over the resources that sustain it, before meaningful and tangible democratization could take place (Tilly 198). This is because once the capacity issue is mitigated, the state would be able to enter the “democratic territory already in possession of means to enforce decisions arrived at through broad, equal, protected, and mutually binding citizen-state interaction” (Tilly 161). Although a central state has existed throughout the contemporary political history of Afghanistan, this entity has been severely limited by the prevalence of a strong centre-periphery divide – a discussion that I will next turn to in this paper. 4.  The Afghan State: Centre-Periphery Divide, Tribalism and Religion Strong tensions between peripheral and central Afghanistan have traditionally marred relations between the government and Afghans; hence, the centre-periphery relation is a constant theme in the study of Afghan politics. In examining the centre-periphery relations, it is important   9 to bear in mind that the notion of a centralized state with controlling and coordinating functions for the entire country was a colonially imposed idea (Olesen, 20-1; Dupree xix). At the time of its inception in 1747, Afghanistan was an alliance, a confederation at best, of a handful tribes in Southern Afghanistan under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Durrani, the first Emperor of Afghanistan (Dupree xix). To this tribal alliance, the purpose of the state was not to govern but to administer their conquests (Rubin 1988, 1189). However, under the British, and to some extent Russian, imperial influences the need for the state to transform from a mere administrator of conquests to a centralized apparatus that controlled and asserted authority over its territory became all the more inevitable. This section will briefly analyze the ways in which the centre- periphery divide has shaped the political dynamics in Afghanistan and affected the evolution and maturation of the Afghan state. One implication of this discussion is to suggest that today’s governance issues in Afghanistan are historically deep-rooted. A microcosm of the traditional states, Afghan states have never come close to Tilly’s conceptualization of the state: as “an organization that controls the major concentration of coercive means within a substantial territory, exercises priority in some regards over all other organizations operating within the same territory, and receives acknowledgment of that priority from other organizations, including states, outside the territory” (Tilly 11). One reason for this lack of conformity is that the Afghan statesmen have, generally speaking, been forming alliances by way of offering compliance dividends to tribal and religious leaders as a way of trying to indirectly penetrate the periphery rather than developing state institutions.4  4 With access to coercive and structural resources of the state, Afghan rulers could have established and enforced the legitimacy of the central state without the need to form alliances with the tribal leaders. It is to be noted, however, that Afghanistan has been, and still is in many ways, a very traditional society where attempts at establishing a central bureaucracy not only did not appeal to many tribes, and their de facto autonomous leaders, but also were with met stiff military resistance.  Adding another layer of complexity is the fact that the country is ethnically segmented, therefore, buying political   10 patronage through providing subsidies and financial incentives to tribal leaders has been a method of choice for centuries (Giustozzi 2010).5 Since the rule of law was practically non-existent, these alliances were formed mostly through centre-initiated mediations that aimed at keeping the Afghan ruler in power rather than legitimating the doctrine of a centralized power structure that represented and protected all Afghans. The alliance building was mutually beneficial as it also justified the rule of the tribal leaders over the periphery. The resulting antagonism towards the state by the ordinary ruralites resulted in an inherent weakness that inhibited the state from effectively and directly extending its administrative surveillance to the periphery and claim control over its territory. In the ensuing stalemate, while the centre tried to dominate the periphery, the periphery limited the centre’s sphere of influence through resisting the penetration of the centre which the rural Afghans perceived as an unwanted intrusion into their lives (Suhrke 1301). The state’s character has, therefore, historically resembled that of a military feudal state as the great majority of Afghans have considered it an unnecessary nuisance created by the powerful elites.  This is consistent with Tilly’s observation of the 17th century France when the French monarchs bought off their rivals or crushed them into submission (Tilly 35). 6 Additionally, the preexistence of traditional religious judiciary structures has had an adverse effect on the development of the state institutions in the periphery as well as on the   5 In addition, Barnett Rubin in The Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System argues that historically the idea of a central state has not appealed to the overwhelmingly tribal Afghans because there is no central authority in the tribal system. Under such a tribal system, the tribe, not citizenship of the state, is the basis for identity and political allegiance. Whereas the state insists on the loyalty of all persons to the central authority, regardless of their relations to each other, tribe as a model of sociopolitical organization gives precedence to agnatic kinships and the lines of patrilineal descent. 6 Rubin argues that this was the case because, as far as the locals are concerned, the state has “remain[ed] not the trustee of their common interest, but another particular interest like a tribe or clan” (Rubin 1988, 1189).   11 state’s evolution into a broad-based organization. With the centre having a limited reach outside the capital, religious institutions filled the socio-organizational vacuum in the periphery in such a manner that left little legitimate framework for the central system to exist. Given that Afghanistan is an overwhelmingly Islamic country, almost all Afghans relied on the interpretation and adherence to Islamic instructions for day-to-day matters. For example, in the absence of a legal system, feuds were considered legitimate instruments and the cycle of retaliation was regulated by either verdicts of an Islamic authority or by the edicts of the leaders of the various Afghan tribes. Therefore, the statist role that Islam and tribalism played predated the introduction of the idea of a centrist state and prohibited the Afghan state from taking hold in the country. To summarize, the concept of a central state in Afghanistan has had a complex trajectory. Rivalries between the central state and the rural periphery have posed more serious impediments on the transformation of the state from a traditionalist to an all-encompassing central entity. In addition, the preexistence of tribal and Islamic structures of power, justice and diplomacy has affected not only the ability but also the legitimacy of various Afghan governments to extend their realm of control, assert influence and claim authority over the periphery (Olesen 62). The absence of responsive and capable government institutions historically in Afghanistan explains, in part, why the current state apparatus does not have the administrative capacity and the bureaucratic competency required for it to extend its surveillance and provide the much needed surveillance against the insurgents and services to Afghans. PART 2 – TILLY: DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIZATION 1.   Definitions of Democracy This section strives to conceptualize democracy according to Tilly. There are four main   12 streams of definitions that democratic theorists choose from: constitutional, substantive, procedural, and process-oriented (Tilly 7). The constitutional approach centers on “laws a regime enacts concerning political activity” (Tilly 7). It provides a constitutional framework that protects citizens’ rights and restricts governments from infringing on people’s freedoms; a good example would be the US Constitution. It also accounts for the variations between republics, constitutional monarchies, presidential systems as well as the differences in federal versus unitary arrangements that are embedded in a country’s constitution (Tilly 7). The substantive definition is concerned with the “conditions of life and politics” – such as “human welfare, individual freedom, security, equity, social equality, public deliberation, and peaceful conflict resolution” – that a particular democratic regime promotes, regardless of whether or not the promotion of these conditions is constitutionally demanded (Tilly 7). The procedural definition, on the other hand, zooms in on the specifics of governmental practices – most notably, the competitiveness of elections, voter turnouts, the quality of citizens’ engagement in the deliberative processes, and the impact of these deliberations on government policies, procedures and actions – to determine whether a regime is democratic (Tilly 8).  In stark contrast, the process-oriented definition aims to identify a set of minimum requirements “that must be continuously in motion” for a system to qualify as a democracy (Tilly 9). As for what these minimum requirements are, Tilly invokes Robert Dahl who postulates that the essential components of a democratic system, in the context of Dahl’s polyarchal democracy, are: “effective participation, voting equality, enlightened understanding, control of the agenda, and inclusion of adults” (Tilly 9; Dahl 37-38). Although Tilly is not quite comfortable with Dahl’s list, something that he refers to as “a static yes-no checklist,” he concludes that if a regime lacks or falls short on anyone of these principles, it cannot be considered a democracy   13 under the process-oriented definition (Tilly 10-11). 2.   Democratization Democratization refers to currents of change that move a political regime in a democratic direction (Potter 3). Tilly posits that there are no necessary conditions for democratization; instead, there are processes that could help with the promotion of democracy in susceptible polities (202). He surveys more than two centuries of histories of democratization and de- democratization to theorize that democratization will not take place unless changes in three areas of “trust networks, categorical inequality, and autonomous power centers” have occurred (Tilly 74, 78, 202). The logic behind this supposition is that increasing the integration of interpersonal trust networks and the insulation of major categorical inequalities from public politics as well as decreasing the autonomy of major power centers from public politics will create a conducive environment under which democracy could flourish (Tilly 23). Tilly also believes that alterations in these central clusters of change will increase state capacity and improve relations between states and citizens such that politics would be become broader, more equal and consultative (29). The argument is that democratization thrives at the intersection of these elements and this segment of the thesis will analyze these processes with practical examples from Afghanistan. 3.  Integrating Interpersonal Trust Networks into Public Politics  Tilly defines trust networks as “ramified interpersonal connections, consisting mainly of strong ties, within which people set valued, consequential, long-term resources and enterprises at risk to the malfeasance, mistakes, or failures of others” (74, 81, 94). Membership in these networks is direct or indirect, entitles one to seek assistance or attention from another member and entails taking regular risks in the pursuit of their long-term goals (Tilly 81-2). Examples include religious sects and kinship groups whose members have, historically, “carefully shielded   14 themselves from involvement in political regimes, for justified fear that rulers would either seize their precious resources or subordinate them to the state’s programs” (Tilly 74).  The challenge, from a democratization standpoint, is that when trust networks remain outside the purview of collective political frameworks, they will be segregated from public politics and the task of reaching out to members to aggregate their wills in a democratic system will become all the more unattainable (Tilly 74, 88). Faith-based CSOs in the Muslim world are active trust networks that have a broad base of support among the population. The integration of these segregated networks would, therefore, facilitate democratization efforts through serving three main purposes: opening up space for members to negotiate their consent to state’s programs and activities and committing themselves to mutually binding consultations; allowing for the creation of larger politically connected networks through ultimately disintegrating localized patron-client relationships; and, expanding the participatory franchise to formerly excluded groups, creating new long-term risky opportunities (such as war and famine) that the localized interpersonal networks of trust would not have the capacity to absorb (Tilly 74). Given the perceived effectiveness and non-governmentality of these institutions, I consider faith-based CSOs as interpersonal networks of trust and hypothesize that there is a positive space for them in the discourse of democratizing religious polities such as Afghanistan. The argument is that their integration into public politics would enlarge deliberative democratic spaces while, at the same time, broaden, equalize and protect opportunities for the excluded others: members of certain religious communities already stigmatized by global Islamophobia. If negotiated carefully such an initiative could be mutually beneficial, particularly to democracy. To be more specific, the inclusion of these networks can serve the democratic cause because, considering the momentum of democracy and the events of last year’s Arab Spring which are   15 still in motion, there is great potential for expansion into less-democratic7 This section attempts at making a case for the inclusion of the above-described networks in the Middle East as part of the democracy promotion enterprise. Before I delve into that discussion, however, I should perhaps mention that I have deliberately chosen to focus on the Middle East region, as opposed to Afghanistan specifically, for two reasons. Firstly, although faith-based CSOs rampantly exist in Afghanistan, the literature on them is scant. Secondly, Afghanistan, in terms of its religion, culture and in so far as the promotion of democracy is concerned, is closer to the countries analyzed here than anywhere else in the world.  parts of the world.          3.1.  Civil Societies  Conceptualization of civil societies is inherently ambiguous and contested as the term has, similar to democracy, a myriad of definitions and meanings. Some scholars avoid the use of the term altogether pointing to “its conceptual fuzziness, ideological impregnation, and referential ambiguity” (Howell and Pearce 111). According to the Scottish political philosopher David Humes, civil societies “emphasize the ways in which individuals might restrain their own inclinations so as to prompt and promote those of one’s companions” (Gleadle 63). However, to French anthropologist Ernest Gellner, CSOs are “a set of diverse non-governmental institutions which are strong enough to counterbalance the state and, while not preventing the state from fulfilling its role of keeper of the peace and arbitrator between major interests, can nevertheless prevent it from dominating and atomizing the rest of society” (Gellner 5). In other words, the implementation of CSOs would diminish the impact of states’ coercive elements and individuals  7 This thesis prefers Diamond’s term “less-democratic” over Tilly’s “non-democratic” reference in gauging the democraticness of a polity because the latter views democracy as a continuum rather a system that is simply present or absent (Diamond xxi).   16 in these states would be “liberated from all unnecessary constraints and inequalities” (Parekh 19). Additionally, philosopher Charles Taylor conceptualized civil societies as “an amalgam of two rather different traditions” and divided them into two categories: the L-stream and the M- stream (Van Seters 29). According to Taylor, the L stands for the Lockean strand and the M stands for the strand first reportedly conceptualized by Montesquieu. While both of these traditions build on the society/state distinction, Taylor argues that “the central feature of the L- stream is the elaboration of a richer view of society as an extra political reality, whereas the M- stream focuses on independent associations that form the basis for the fragmentation and diversity of power within the political system” (An-Naim 55). In the L-stream, which is closer to Hume’s understanding of civil societies and is sometimes referred to as the Liberal stream, the term defines the “sphere of democratic social interactions” which “enable[s] all citizens to insure a degree of government accountability” (Schwedler 5). However, in the M-stream, which is very similar to Gellner’s interpretation of the term, civil societies are part of a political constitution that “fragments and diversifies power among a layer of intermediate bodies [namely the monarchies, the bourgeoisies and the clergies]” (Schwedler 3; Van Seters 30 and An-Naim 55). Similarly, German philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel defines die Bürgerliche Gesellschaft, or the civil society, “as a means of protecting the individual rights and needs of the privileged to guarantee freedom in economic, social, and cultural spheres” (Schwedler 3; An-Naim 54). To Hegel, the sphere of public activity, when created under the civil society rubric, allows it to operate outside the influence of the coercive state and distinctively deviates from the political sphere where party politics and governance matters are carried out. Karl Marx would further develop Hegel’s theory by giving it his signature bourgeoisie-proletariat twist. He argued that a   17 civil society “only develops with the bourgeoisie; the social organization evolving directly out of production and commerce” (Schwedler 4). In the contemporary debate, however, theories of civil societies no longer aim to define the concept in capitalist expressions. Rather, they are delineated along the liberal and neoliberal interpretations in the sense that these organizations seek to limit the power of the state in order to protect citizens against arbitrary and unjust government actions and policies. Liberal theorists emphasize the importance of promoting non-political spheres for CSOs8 3.2.  The Perceived Failure of Pro-Democracy and Service Delivery CSOs  and aim to create an informal and voluntary mechanism whereby social relations, such as business, personal and family, are self-generating, self-organized, self-supporting, and evolve without the interference of the state (Sorensen 6; Schwedler 6). In comparison, the neoliberal theorists argue that CSOs minimize the role of an overbearing state and “all avoidable forms of coercion” by reorganizing the political space and trying to influence state policies and legislations (Glasius, Lewis and Seckinelgin 6; Parekh 19). 3.2.1.   Pro-Democracy CSOs In line with the mainstream Western liberal views and, to an extent, Taylor’s L-stream theory, these CSOs promote “change by spreading democratic concepts among their fellow citizens and by pressing Arab governments to adhere to international democratic norms [that limit the power of the state]” (Hawthorne 87). They are expected to lay the foundations of 8 The underlying assumption here is that CSOs are safely apolitical and that they have no positive role to play in the political sphere (Hawthorne 83). This provokes disagreements between liberal and non-liberal scholars, the majority of whom believe that “political society—that is, political parties and other groups that explicitly seek to gain political control of the state—is separate from civil society” (Ottaway and Carothers 2000, 10). Yet another group of scholars are skeptical of this view. Michael Foley and Bob Edward, for instance, hold that civil societies can play ‘explicitly political’ role in the pursuit of promoting democracy arguing that “decidedly political associations may play the roles attributed to civil associations in the civil society argument, and may play them better” (In Ottaway and Carothers 2000, 10).   18 democracy by carrying out awareness and education programs, informing citizens about their political rights, and encouraging them to frequently use those rights. The argument is that they will ultimately expose the Muslim world to a form of West-inspired micro-democracy, a learning through diffusion, “by habituating them to the concepts of civic participation and decision making through taking part in nonthreatening local issues” (Hawthorne 99). However, despite the support and the investment of the Western donors, these organizations are the most fledgling and perhaps the weakest of the CSOs in the Middle East. In fact, the only tangible progress that is contentiously attributed to them is in the area of women’s rights but even that sole progress is restricted and limited to only certain Arab countries. For instance, in the case of Egypt, the country has more than two dozen of these organizations, which include women’s rights groups that monitor state policies and provide civic education (Brouwer 26; Al-Sayyid 55). An example of these organizations is the Egyptian Hoda, the League of Egyptian Women Voters in Arabic, that despite the legal restrictions and the tight grip of the Egyptian government, has been very successful in carrying its mandate of empowering women to vote (Brouwer 35). Similarly, Morocco has one of the most vibrant and highly developed women’s rights movements in the Arab world, and, their relentless struggle was ultimately rewarded with the introduction in 2003 of the most progressive legislation on family issues in the Islamic world (Brouwer 38). Certain Palestinian institutions have also been successful in documenting women’s rights abuses in Palestinian territories (Said 70). However, some scholars argue that these accomplishments are not because of pro-democracy CSOs, instead, because of women’s associations that are “sponsored by host governments, often under the protection of the president's wife or women in the royal family” (Ottaway and Carothers 2005, 257).   19 As for why the pro-democracy CSOs have had a limited impact on other areas, such as on government policies and in extending democratic political participation in the Arab world, I believe for many Muslims, including Afghans, considering the prevailing illiteracy and the lack of a meaningful historic experience with the democratic rule, democracy remains unclear. It will have difficulties replacing, on the whole, centuries of tested traditional, albeit authoritarian, governance without bargaining and jockeying for position with these practices. Furthermore, because social, political, and economic relationships still revolve around kinship and tribal bonds9 Another argument against the pro-democracy CSOs is that they are limited in their outreach because they identify coercion as an unnecessary evil, and associate the state with it. Although most Middle Eastern states are identified as “the ultimate arbiter and the paramount decision maker in the political arena,” the coercion argument tends to overlook the positive governing, organizing, unifying and inspirational role that states play (Kazemi and Norton 85). It also ignores the fact that “[c]ivil society does not precede or exist outside or behind the back of the state. Instead it is made possible by the state, which both permits and protects associative freedom, and exists as a moment, a space, within it” (Parekh 23).  in the Arab world, the idea of civic participation, the kind that in Humes’ and Gellner’s views counterbalances the state and prevents it from atomizing the public, is yet to develop due to the mentioned limitations. The last argument against the effectiveness of the pro-democracy CSOs in the Middle East is their tendency to disregard the sovereignty of a state over a certain territory.10  9 An observation pertinent to Afghanistan - one that was earlier discussed later in this paper.  For instance, when these CSOs report human rights issues within certain Arab authoritarian states, they tarnish the international image and reputation of that state in the world stage. Consequently, 10 CSOs do not play a well-defined role vis-à-vis the state. As mentioned under the liberal theory section, in some cases they operate autonomously while in other cases they depend on the state.   20 many Middle Eastern governments view their activities as clear violations of the principle of non-interference in their internal affairs. Furthermore, the notion that the pro-democracy CSOs, together with the local allies, could somehow generate pressure points that could ultimately hold the local governments accountable for their actions is very unsettling for the majority of Arab regimes. As a result of the above factors, the distrust of pro-democracy CSOs, particularly those that are funded by external donors, runs deep among the authoritarian rulers in the region who retaliate by using the state-run media to portray these organizations as “traitors or conspirators” (Browers 67-8). 3.2.2.  Service-delivery CSOs  In line with the liberal and Taylor’s M-stream theories, service-delivery CSOs are mechanisms that provide for the fragmentation and diversity of power within a political system by way of delivering basic services that can ultimately minimize the role of the state. These organizations are primarily non-profit groups that deliver a diverse range of services such as health care, micro-credit loans, job training, tuition assistance, and community development – usually the kinds of services that the host governments are unable to offer to their citizens (Schwedler 2). Particularly noteworthy is also the fact that these CSOs “distrust advocacy and policy-oriented work and invest in direct service provision, where outcomes tend to be more tangible on the quantitative side” (Samad and Mohamadieh 124). Furthermore, some neutral and non-political Western donors favour these CSOs for funding because they “offer a technical, nonpolitical way to promote democratization, or at least to prepare personnel and organizations to play a useful role [in the process of democratization]” (Brouwer 37). Service-delivery CSOs in the Middle East have increased rapidly since the 1980s and this rise in numbers is attributed to two factors: default governance and the politicization of aid. For   21 instance, with regards to the first factor, Palestinian service-delivery CSOs mushroomed during the 1980s as prior to the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 1994, there were effectively no governments in the territory. Service-delivery CSOs, numbered at over 1500, were, therefore, the only source of social services for Palestinian citizens (Said 69). The politicization of aid was equally responsible for their rapid growth. Service-delivery CSOs add a political flavour to their services, and often engage in political point-scoring and punch-throwing with certain regional governments – something that will not help them make many friends in the autocratic regimes that rule the Middle East. Service-delivery CSOs in the Middle East have been unsuccessful in carrying out their mandates primarily for three main reasons: government restrictions, perceptions of illegitimacy, and the lack of adequate funding. While many Arab governments have come to accept the ever- expanding role of service-providing CSOs, some look at their activities with a great deal of misgivings. Egypt, for instance, has a total of up to fifteen thousand11 Legitimacy is another lingering problem in the case of these CSOs. For the ones that are locally funded, there is always the question of who provides the funding for their programs. This  vibrant service-delivery CSOs that are involved in providing a host of services. However, they are under heavy government scrutiny and required by law to register with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Affairs. The difference between the Egyptian and Palestinian service-delivery CSOs is worth mentioning in this regard. While both provide the kinds of services that the governments cannot offer, the latter is very politically active with an anti-Israeli agenda in delivering politicized services and the former is less political as it is kept under the heavy scrutiny of the Egyptian government (Brouwer 25-26; Ismael 442; Hawthorne 99).  11 Evidently, the Egyptian government does not release the exact number of the CSOs but according to the not-for-profit institute, ‘Foundation for the Future,’ this number is roughly between 15,000 to 21,500 CSOs.   22 may emanate from the fact that, irrespective of the capacity of a government, locals perceive the delivery of services as one of the main functions of the state and every time a non-state entity delivers services, questions regarding the motives and the legitimacy of that entity are raised. Similarly, the CSOs that are funded by international donors also suspected as illegitimate because of the perceptions that that they are there to carry out a foreign mandate.12 The lack of adequate funding is another issue that has impeded the ability of service- delivery CSOs to operate effectively. Western donors that can provide generous and substantial funding, such as the US government, favour pro-democracy CSOs over service-delivery CSOs for political reasons – mainly because of the latter’s reluctance to carry out political advocacy and donor policy-oriented programs. As for the locally-funded service-delivery CSOs, considering the small size of the secular middle class and widespread poverty in the region, they remain chronically underfunded as well. To fill this gap, Arab governments have stepped forward to play the civil society game by creating and generously funding their own versions of these CSOs.  13 The question that remains unanswered then is why would these governments not provide the same services directly to their citiznes as opposed to under the pretext, or rubric, of CSOs?14 12 In this regard, scholars have pointed to faith-based CSOs that do not receive outside aid and are the most influential such as the Islamic Al-Azhar Spiritual Leadership, Darl Al-Efta and the Coptic Church (Al-Sayyid 64). Furthermore, the perception is that shallowness has stigmatized foreign-funded CSOs for they are not adequately rooted in the societies that they are serving. The argument here goes that foreign funding for service-providing or pro-democracy advocacy groups alienates them from the local environments and, in the case of Syria and Egypt, they are accused of elitism. “This accusation is true in the sense that mass mobilisation is limited and mass response is weak, or even absent… [because] while people hold positive views on democracy and social activism, they are unwilling to pursue these goals actively by joining political parties or advocacy organisations themselves” (Said 69).  In sum, government restrictions, perceptions of illegitimacy, and inadequate funding 13 The idea of government-sponsored CSOs may sound illegitimate to a Western audience; however, they have a history of perhaps more than half a century in the Middle East and an overwhelming number of them do rally citizens, provide services and bear surprising resemblance to their Western counterparts. 14 I suspect the reason to be that the public expectations are higher for government programs as compared to projects funded by a government-propped CSO. Therefore, it is a cheaper and more effective way of not only competing with the NGOs but also delivering limited types of services to their citizens.   23 have inhibited the minimization of the role of the state and have affected the effectiveness of service-delivery CSOs. 3.2.3. A Case for the Inclusion of Faith-based CSOs The difficulty, as far as the argument of this section is concerned, is that most of the powerful CSOs in the Middle East appear to be religious/Islamic in nature such that they do not necessarily conform to the Western and secularized perceptions of a CSO. Subsequently, faith- based CSOs may not have attracted adequate academic recognition. Furthermore, as this section will attempt to make a case for it, the parochial nature of the Western model of CSOs does not effectively project the non-Western cultural and political realities of Islamic societies. It may, therefore, be not only the time to reframe the paradigm to ultimately better conceptualize and recognize certain faith-based organizations as integral parts of public activism in Muslim countries but also come up with a broader, more global, and inclusive definition of CSOs. Faith-based CSOs are non-secular organizations that are influential considering their religious affiliations and deep-rooted as they often sprout from local initiatives. Initially regarded as the Awqaf (religious endowment), they are now known as the community-based shuras (local councils) and charitable organizations that have traditionally maintained a strong religious orientation. The historic prevalence of these CSOs is attributed to the nature of the Islamic state that was “always held in the autonomous hands of jurists, [and] provided a high degree of freedom to [Islamic] civil society” (Ismael 68). Today, not all faith-based CSOs are radically evangelical, perhaps because of government restrictions on their activities. They enjoy not only wider popularity but also a “legal share of the public space” (Schwedler 10). These CSOs are almost exclusively funded by Islamic   24 endowments and provide a unique form of associative life for the predominantly religious population of the region. Parallel to the secular CSOs in the West, they are the “most active and widespread form of associative life” in the Arab world that provide a wide-array of charitable and social services which include, but are not limited to, health care, education opportunities, employment assistance, career mentorship and even inter-faith matchmaking (Hawthorne 85). They are also effective because they “coexist with a vast array of Islamist organizations that are anathema to donors but enjoy a high level of popular support” (Ottaway and Carothers 2000, 15). There are thousands of private voluntary organizations that “are affiliated with mosques (less often with the Coptic Church) [and] are run by professionals volunteering their time, and are financed by the collection of zakat (alms)” (Brouwer 26). Although, faith-based CSOs are excluded from US financial assistance programs, because of their religious heritage, Brouwer argues that their Islamic background has few, if any, political ramifications. This is because they “do not seem to be channels for recruiting cadres, organizing citizens for political action, or promoting violence” (Brouwer 26).15 Similarly, following the Iranian revolution of 1979, Iran witnessed a substantial increase in the number of faith-based CSOs. The role of the Islamic regime of Ayatollah Khomeini is particularly noteworthy in this regard, as it dramatically helped with their rapid proliferation in the country “by defining citizenship rights (and civic participation) in essentially rigid religious  For instance, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is by far the largest and the strongest, albeit legally not registered, faith-based CSO (Brouwer 26). This CSO was founded by Egyptian brothers who had fled Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s persecution in the 1950s and the 1960s (Ismael 342). Interestingly, Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Nadi al-Talaba in Kuwait are also reported to be the offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.  15 I believe what Brouwer refers to by ‘political action’ is violent political agitation.   25 terms” (Kazemi 48). Although many Iranian faith-based CSOs worked with the support of the Iranian government, some were semi-autonomous and operated outside the immediate control of the state. These included the bonyads or multifaceted Shiite-inspired foundations and awqaf, or the Islamic charitable institutions such as the ones mentioned earlier. Among the bonyads, the “Foundation for the Oppressed and the Martyrs” stand out for its outreach and service to the victims of the Iran-Iraq war of the late 1980s (Kazemi 49). The late 1970s also produced a surge of Shiite faith-based CSOs in the Gulf region. Perhaps the most prominent example is the al-Jameiat al-Thaqfah al-Ijtimaiyah or the “Society of Social Education” in Kuwait (Ismael 342). This CSO made its hallmark when it mobilized Kuwaitis during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. During that period they strongly condemned and opposed the occupation of the small oil-rich country (Schwedler 11). Following the chaos of the 1990s in Algeria, the “Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria” also made significant gains in membership. During this period they provided socioeconomic assistance to a considerable portion of the Algerian population in a way that was “consistent with Algerian culture, history, and experience” (Entelis 43). Unlike the above-mentioned countries, when it comes to Sudan, the case of faith-based CSOs is peculiar and controversial (such that I will drop CSO and refer to them to as faith-based organization instead). The Sudanese government maintains a heavy engagement with, and an excessive influence over, these organizations. In some cases, these faith-based agencies act as the unofficial organs of the autocratic state. This is because the government’s involvement has influenced their Islamic character and has totalized their agendas which now seek to “transform the personality as well as the behavior of the Sudanese citizens” (Lesch 71). In addition, since the government is fairly restrictive of other forms of associations, faith-based organizations are   26 dominant in the sphere of civic activism. However, a point of serious contention in Sudan surrounds some faith-based associations that have carried out controversial Islamic re-education programs for adults, compelled non-Muslims and non-Arabs to study Islam and convert, and, attempted to “create a homogeneous national identity, through fostering Islamist norms and suppressing alternative values and views” (Lesch 71). Even more controversial is the small number of faith-based organizations within the Middle East that have publicly declared their objective to overthrow certain regimes in the region. Furthermore, some are openly contemptuous of the idea of democracy and have aspirations to establish Islamic states in the region (Norton 33). This is largely because this small number of these organizations are ideologically-inspired and “are only minimally ‘civil’… in their toleration of identities and opinions that diverge from their own” (Brouwer 22). For these reasons, many Western scholars including Carrie Rosefsky-Wikham and Saad Eddin Ibrahim excluded all faith-based CSOs from the designation of civil society (Schwedler 14). While criticisms and suggestion for withholding the designation of a CSO are well-founded in the case of the ultra-radical and violent organizations, such as the few in Sudan, looking at the broader picture, faith-based CSOs are not a monolithic bloc. To exclude them all “would ignore the fact that they have been among the most effective means of challenging government authority and responding to citizens’ needs and concerns” (Schwedler 14). To use the one rotten apple analogy, casting all faith-based CSOs aside because of a small number of extremist organizations would not only dismiss the majority of other fairly civil and useful faith-based CSOs but would also imply homogeneity in the Arab world. So long as religious-based parties and associations accept the principle of pluralism and observe a modicum of civility in behavior toward the different ‘other,’ then they can expect to be integral parts of civil society. In this respect, even the Islamists may evolve   27 into something akin to the Christian Democrats in the West or the religious parties in Israel (Ibrahim 38).  An important question that arises is: why do faith-based CSOs enjoy popularity and influence in the Middle East while the secular CSOs are struggling there? I believe that these organizations owe their success to three factors: the fourth pillar of Islam: zakat (the principle of giving a portion of one’s wealth to a charitable cause), the perceptions of inability and illegitimacy of secular CSOs, and the religious satisfaction that Muslims get from involvement in these organizations. To examine the principle of zakat, it is the “obligation of Muslims to give a specific amount of their wealth – with certain conditions and requirements – to beneficiaries called al-mustahiqqin [the deserving ones]. The concept of zakat exemplifies Islam’s strong concern with social and economic justice” (Alfitri 2006). As such, Muslims consider it their religious duty and moral obligation to pay zakat to what often turns out to be religiously-inspired causes and Islamic organizations, among which, the faith-based CSOs are regarded as perhaps the worthiest. Therefore, the zakat principle makes it morally persuasive to fund, get involved with and support the activities of faith-based CSOs. More importantly, the wealth redistributive function of zakat serves the Islamic CSOs with the funding that they need to carry out their programs while, at the same time, providing them with the legitimacy they need to provide the kinds of services that are often hard for the non-state stakeholders to make available to citizens. The rapid expansion of Islamic CSOs is also attributed to the inability of secular CSOs to effectively reach out to the local people and quickly respond to their emergencies.16  16 Faith-based CSOs’ swift humanitarian response to affected population in the chaos following Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006 is particularly noteworthy in this regard. For more on the subject, please consult Mona Harb’s “Faith-Based Organizations as Effective Development Partners? Hezbollah and Post-War Reconstruction in Lebanon,” in Development, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations: Bridging the Sacred and the Secular. Edited by Gerard Clarke, Michael Jennings and Timothy M. Shaw.  One reason for their slow response is that secular CSOs are often overly bureaucratic and need donor   28 authorizations and project proposals before they could undertake a challenge. They are also chronically underfunded. By comparison, faith-based CSOs are more autonomous, decentralized, have sufficient funding and are not governed by complex labyrinth of bureaucracies that the secular CSOs are managed through. This problem, to which John D. Clark refers to as the deficiency of reach, has rendered secular CSOs “ineffective and politically isolated, unable to establish a strong presence in a field where government affiliated organizations, Islamic charities, and politicized Islamist groups dominate” (Ottaway and Carothers 2005, 257; Clark 2003, 8). 3.2.4. Could Europe Offer a Model? Christian Democratic Parties The genesis of Christian Democratic Parties in Europe dates back to the late nineteenth century when they were created mainly to defend Catholicism in the face of rapid changes introduced by capitalism (Hanley 3). It is to be noted, however, that they came into existence not in direct opposition to capitalism but to search for “a middle way between liberalism and collectivism, between capitalism and communism, with a bias in favour of capitalism and liberalism” (Kersbergen 33, citing Irving xviii). At the time, what distinguished Christian Democracy from other ideologies was the “forthright rejection of the extreme doctrines put forward by capitalism on the one hand and Marxism on the other” (Kersbergen 33, citing Mény 51). According to Kersbergen, this is because these belief systems presented the types of materialism that the Church could not doctrinally support (33). Associated with Catholic social movements, the early versions of these parties could hardly be called democratic by today’s standards (Hanley 3).17  17 A point that could be similarly made about perhaps most contemporary faith-based CSOs in the Muslim world.  Membership was restricted to practicing – and often proselytizing – Catholics. Their objective was sometimes to please the   29 Lord and spread the word of the Gospel and, occasionally, their stated mission was to shield the society from secular and un-Christian changes that were beginning to question the fundamentals of people’s beliefs in Europe. In this regard, “[i]t seems clear that these parties deriving from a religious impulse were qualitatively distinct both from liberal and socialist rivals (both secularist in orientation) and from conservative groupings (which may well have appealed to religion, but only as an adjunct to other criteria, be they order, tradition, hierarchy or self-interest)” (Hanley 3). An interesting observation here is that Christian Democracy in Europe was doctrinally plagiaristic in the sense that it seems to have copied from liberalism, conservatism and socialism, creating a hotchpotch of ideology (Kersbergen 33). Fast-forwarding to today, these parties are acutely mindful of their religious roots and “are in politics to express a Christian vision of humankind and its destiny” (Hanley 4). The European experience has provided sufficient evidence that Christian Democratic Parties can effectively moderate social cleavages, particularly when it comes to labour versus capital antagonisms. They have also been phenomenally successful in broadening appeal among voters of all stripes (Kersbergen 41). One reason for this appeal has been the fact that “[r]eligion cuts across class and acts to unite different social groups, a fundamental condition for the establishment of social capitalism” (Kersbergen 40). In the same vein, it could be, similarly, conceivable for the Islamic faith-based CSOs to evolve, in the long term, into political parties the way their European counterparts have been able to do. They could establish electoral mechanisms and form democratic parties capable of balancing competing interests from voters of all walks of life – all under a deliberative and democratic framework.18 18 I wish to acknowledge that some scholars, including Samuel Huntington, the influential American political philosopher, would take an issue with this proposition. To Huntington there is little room for engagement between Islam and democracy. In “Democracy’s Third Wave,” in The Global Resurgence of Democracy, edited by Larry Diamond and Marc Plattner, he states “the only Islamic country that has    30 It would be misguided to suggest that faith-based CSOs will not have the capacity to politically transform nations, in democracy’s favour in most cases. What could provide a sense of the immense potential that faith-based CSOs hold to mobilize and organize bias, in the Schattschneiderian sense,19 Thus, I hypothesize that working together with faith-based CSOs to formulate a compatible version of democracy could work in the Muslim world given the idiosyncratic features of that world. It could broaden political participation, serve democracy with an opportunity to educate Diamond’s less-democrats and allow them to experientially practice democratic rule. Moreover, since it would infuse Muslim communities with a modicum of  are Muslim Brotherhood’s recent victory in the Egyptian presidential elections and Hamas’s 2006 electoral victory in Palestine. Although hardly democratic by Western liberal standards, there is little doubt that these movements enjoy popularity and have deeply penetrated into the social milieu of people in the region. What is more, these movements epitomize, in many ways, the spirit of collective involvement and activism – the kind that does not clash with the Islamic sensibilities of the people there.  sustained a fully democratic system for any length of time is Turkey, where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk explicitly rejected Islamic concepts of society and politics and vigorously attempted to create a secular, modern, Western, nation-state” (19). In a different book, he continues “[e]lsewhere in the Islamic world, Pakistan attempted democracy on three occasions, none of which lasted long. Turkey has had democracy interrupted by occasional military interventions; Pakistan has had bureaucratic and military rule interrupted by occasional elections. The only Arab country to sustain a form of democracy, albeit of the constitutional variety, for a significant period of time was Lebanon. Its democracy, however, really amounted to consociational oligarchy, and 40-50 percent of its population was Christian. Once Muslims became a majority in Lebanon and began to assert themselves, Lebanese democracy collapsed” (Samuel Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in Late Twentieth Century, New York: Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991: 307-8). The alarmism in Huntington and company’s perspectives notwithstanding, I do not rule out certain theoretic incompatibilities and practical problems. In addition, I have two additional points to make. First, I am not advocating for – and am, in fact, fundamentally opposed to – the creation of Islamic states, the kinds that promote an all-pervasive application of Islam in everyday life. Secondly, I have a more positive outlook, one that maintains that Islamic CSOs could a play a role in the development of democracy in the Muslim world. Inclusion of these organizations could afford both the democratic and the Islamic communities to learn more about and from each other by proximity and through osmosis and help each other in the process. 19 The reference is to E. E. Schattschneider’s quote “Organization is the mobilization of bias” in his seminal book, The Semisovereign People.   31 deliberative politics, in an Islam-compatible manner, over time, it could arguably lead to the creation of Islamic Democratic Parties similar to what exist in Europe. Similarly, their inclusion could allow for a better understanding of the perspectives of Muslims on democratization – an account of the different experiences, histories, and social conditions that they face vis-à-vis democracy (Young 136). It could correct the biased and partial perspectives in the West with regards to the Muslim world and it is, therefore, also about enhancing our understanding of the structured processes and partial perspectives that perpetuate dynamics that are unfavourable to democracy promotion in the region. It could also result in “plurality of perspectives” which could not only enrich the democracy promotion theory but could also increase “the store of social knowledge available to participants” of the democratization debate (Young 83). There is sufficient evidence that faith-based CSOs are effective at negotiating matters of public concern and have the backing of people. If they continue to remain outside the purview of public politics, or are dismissed as lofty rhetoric because of their nonconformity to the Western perceptions of a CSO, their development outside public politics could pose serious challenges to consolidation of certain nascent democracies, including the one in Afghanistan. Therefore, in keeping with Tilly’s framework, integrating these interpersonal trust networks holds great potential to, ultimately, ameliorate political participation. Recognizing them as vital and influential partners in democratizing Islamic countries would serve the democratic cause. 4.  Categorical Inequalities and Public Politics: Economy and Gender Tilly posits that categorical inequalities directly affect people’s political rights and opportunities such that promoting and consolidating democracy in the presence of these conditions become a near impossible task in a polity (75). These inequalities come about because   32 of the “organization of social life around boundaries separating whole sets of people who differ collectively in their life chances, as is commonly the case with categories of gender, race, caste, ethnicity, nationality, and religion and is sometimes the case with categories of social class” (Tilly 75). The argument is that in an unequal relationship, the interaction between persons or groups of people generates better outcomes for one more than the other. In the same vein, a durable categorical inequality refers to a situation when “transactions across a categorical boundary” are organized such that they advantage only one side of boundary and these differences reproduce the distinct boundary between groups of people (Tilly 111). Categorical inequalities transpire when one group has monopoly over the extraction and sale of value-producing resources and have always existed throughout history, albeit with varying forms and degrees (Tilly 111). These inequalities give members of the advantaged categories “incentive and the means to evade outcomes of democratic deliberation when those outcomes counter their interests” (Tilly 110). Furthermore, they could “block or subvert democratic politics” because they invariably produce significant “resource disparities in the political arena” (Tilly 110). As such, equalization of these differences across categories combined with insulating public politics from their operation will create conditions that will be conducive to democracy promotion (Tilly 75, 111, 118). For the purposes of this thesis, the nexus of economic and gender inequalities with democratization in Afghanistan will be examined. The latter, pervasive poverty, is believed to stifle democracy while the former, maltreatment and heavy restrictions on women, are acknowledged to be positively correlated with the lack of democratic progress. Therefore, as for economic inequalities, the analysis will focus on whether or not they have posed a major hindrance to democracy promotion in Afghanistan. On gender inequalities, this paper will seek   33 to review the extent, scope and degree of how of these inequalities have negatively impacted democratization in the country. 4.1.  Widespread Poverty in the Country  It has been argued that at the time of Afghanistan’s invasion by American forces in October 2001, “virtually any nation in the world seemed a better candidate for democratization than Afghanistan” (Dalton, Shin & Jou 2009). The country had oscillated between civil wars and Talibanization. The literacy rate was extremely low, less than 10%, and the economy was practically stagnant. The invasion appeared to have ushered in immediate changes, however, as Western countries pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Afghanistan and there were even speculations of a WWII-style Marshall Plan for the country. As time went by, however, the donor countries either hesitated to deliver on their pledges, or in cases where they reported to have delivered assistance to the Afghan programs, most of the money had purportedly never left the capitals of the donor countries (Jones 2009).  Due to the inability of the international community to incentivize the promotion of democracy with the provision of economic opportunities, talks about the merits of democracy as an ideology that had uplifted impoverished nations from the depths of their gloomy conditions in other parts of the world rang hollow to most Afghans.20 This is because the majority of ordinary citizens, in the grand scheme of things, were as hungry as they had been under the rule of the Taliban and still lacked some of the basic necessities of life.21 When the members of a community suffer from chronic malnutrition and frequent illness, participation in common affairs that is both broad and deep is difficult to maintain. When masses of people suffer from acute hunger or rampant disease, expecting them to achieve   20 The reference is to Amartya Sen’s seminal theory, in analyzing West Bengal’s 1943 famine, that the absence of democracy is the causal mechanism for famine, not necessarily the decline of food supplies. 21 Arguably, opportunities marginally increased for only a tiny fraction of the population who could speak English.   34 genuine democracy is naïve (Sorensen 12). Thus, when material poverty is so predominant that some starving villagers are forced to sell their daughters for food (Beaumont 2007) and when more than 40% of Afghans were, and continue to remain, unemployed (CIA’s World Factbook), most Afghans will not be able to enjoy political rights and democracy becomes a luxury that most people cannot afford.  To refute this, Tilly discusses the success of India to democratize in the face of massive economic inequalities (Tilly 51, 110). With 25 states that vary politically, economically, and socially, India is now the largest democracy in the world (Tilly 51). Similar to Afghanistan, India was, and still is, mired by clientelism (it has perhaps the world’s largest patron-client system). But, unlike Afghanistan, the British colonial powers left behind a well-trained cadre of military and civilian personnel for the independent India in the mid 1950s – something that Afghanistan still does not possess (Tilly 51-3). Diamond similarly observes that although there is a marginal positive correlationship between democracy and higher income, lower infant mortality and higher life expectancy, “democracy may generate fewer economic miracles” (Diamond 7). The relationship in this regard is indirect in the sense that the contribution of democracy is in addressing the needs of the poor and the marginalized through empowering them “to organize and mobilize within the political process” (Diamond 7). To buttress this, Diamond discusses the notable case of Latin American democracies that have survived not only crippling economic pressures but also a burgeoning drug trade, and the associated problems, since the mid-1980s. He asserts: “In the practice of ‘voting the bums out’ rather than mobilizing against democracy itself, Latin American publics have given many observers cause to discern a normalization and maturation of democratic politics unlike previous eras” (Diamond 32).  In addition, the reason for why capitalist economies democratize more often than non-   35 capitalist and agrarian societies – such as India in the 1970s and Afghanistan today – is not because of some inherent ideological compatibility of democracy with capitalism but because of the “material basis of rule” (Tilly 115). Democracy thrives under systems of free market enterprise because “regimes in relatively prosperous non-capitalist economies maintain the political integration of categorical distinctions that are organized around resources earlier on the list, notably coercive means, land, and commitment-maintaining institutions” (Tilly 116).22  It is also to be noted that in addition to maintaining boundaries between classes of people, democratic states perpetuate categorical inequalities (Tilly 117). For instance, in the case of inheritance laws, the state preserves ethno-racial inequalities as wealth is seamlessly passed on from one generation to the other. In light of this, “to the extent that they secure property and existing forms of social organization, they also sustain the inequality already built into property and existing forms of social organization” (Tilly 117).  In other words, capitalist systems give democracy a better chance because rulers will not feel the need to rely on categorical inequalities as, generally speaking, democratic regimes protect the interests of the majority of their polities by putting in place system that respond “more fully to popular control, produce more collective benefits, organize broader welfare programs, and redistribute resources in favor of vulnerable populations within their constituencies more extensively” (Tilly 116-7, Goodin et al. 1999, and Przeworski 2000). I contend that so long as material inequalities do not affect public politics and the democratic state manages to separate the two, democracy’s prospects of being promoted are not severely affected. Under ideal circumstances, these inequalities are minimized; however, their  22 Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan in Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-communist Europe have similarly conceptualized that a stable market economy is essential to consolidation of democracy. Their argument is that a free market economy, together with the CSOs, will act as pressure points on the state and limit its powers.   36 existence, provided they are not actively maintained by the state and are properly insulated from public politics, would not be detrimental to democracy promotion. Democracy can form and survive so long as public politics itself does not divide sharply at the boundaries of unequal categories. Conversely, political rights, obligations, and involvements that divide precisely at categorical boundaries threaten democracy and inhibit democratization. Democracy thrives on a lack of correspondence between the inequalities of everyday life and those of state-citizen relations (Tilly 117-8).  4.2.  Gender Inequalities In contrast to economic inequalities, Tilly argues that social disparities can obstruct democratization under two conditions. The first is through the “crystallization of continuous differences” – particularly on the basis of gender – by way of proliferating and directly translating these crystallized differences into everyday life (Tilly 110). Similarly, maintaining the existing levels of social inequalities, or an increase in them, would threaten democratization because members of the privileged group, in this case Afghan men, will continue to form beneficial relations with the state to “[s]hield themselves from onerous political obligations” of having to negotiate equality, interfere in how the state disposes value-generating resources, and, influence, exploit, and exclude the excluded, Afghan women, through privileged access to state resources (Tilly 118). Therefore, a change in the direction of discontinuing and de-crystallizing these social differences and a compensating adjustment that corresponds to degree, extent, and scope of the existing levels of such inequalities would improve democracy’s prospects to be successfully promoted and take hold in a country such as Afghanistan. Gender equality and women’s rights have historically been touch stone issues in Afghan politics. Afghanistan became notoriously famous around the world for the grossest forms of women rights violations during the tyrannical rule of the Taliban – a group that introduced a series of pseudo-religious and oppressive decrees against women. The decrees would   37 inordinately crush and reduce Afghan women to varying degrees of subjugation. Taliban systematically abused and forced burqa-clad women to hide their faces and, by extension, their identities as women, behind veils. However, since the fall of Taliban in late 2001, state and international actors have not been able to work with full vigor to improve the living conditions and the quality of life for Afghan women. Setbacks in improving the abysmal plight of women in Afghanistan are among the main hurdles that challenge the overarching transition to stability and democracy in Afghanistan and the current situation offers a grim picture of the country’s future. This section will argue that post-Taliban gender related decrees, reforms and programs have had minimalistic effects in Afghanistan and the practical needs of Afghan women such as security, justice, access to education, health care and employment opportunities remain unmet. For democracy to have a chance in Afghanistan, these challenges will, therefore, need to be addressed through engaging with the local Afghan institutions, including faith-based CSOs. 4.2.1.  The Quick Demise of Optimism: The Initial Euphoria When the Taliban were removed from power, initially there was a palpable air of excitement among all Afghans, particularly Afghan women who took joy over the prospects of being able to return to work, send their daughters to school and, more importantly, leave their homes without a male companion. Jamila Mujahid, a female radio journalist who was the first to announce the fall of the Taliban regime over the radio on November 13, 2001, was very excited when she said “I never thought a time would come when I would be reading the news again” (Armstrong 186). Mujahid would go on to become a prominent women’s rights advocate in Afghanistan and while working for the Afghan National Radio she would establish the first post- Taliban Afghan women’s rights magazine called Seerat which urged women to reclaim their   38 equal and rightful status in the society, take part in political matters and write about their experience of living under Taliban.  For Afghan women, it was a propitious time to make small strides socially and politically. As a matter of fact, women were included in politics, particularly in a symbolic peace negotiation conference held shortly after the fall of Taliban in Bonn, Germany in December 2001.23  However, the optimism surrounding these improvements was soon replaced by disappointments and skepticism as it quickly became evident that the mantra of improving women’s rights was used by politicians largely to please the US administration officials and oversell the Afghan society’s capacity to deal with gender-related reforms. For instance, on January 10, 2002, the Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women was signed by Karzai at a ceremony that was held in honour of the then US Senator and now US Vice President, Joseph Biden. The declaration was originally devised by Afghan women in exile and it extended equal rights and protection to women against abuses. At the signing ceremony of this declaration, Karzai gave a speech in which he stretched the truth about the rich Afghan traditions  Afghan women made an impressive comeback in the Bonn Conference where Dr. Sima Samar was appointed as one of the Vice-Chairs of the conference and, subsequently, as the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the new Afghan Interim Administration. In addition, another woman, Dr. Suhaila Seddiqi, the only female doctor in Kabul who publicly defied Taliban’s orders to stay home, was appointed as the Minister of Public Health. In light of the UN Resolution Number 1325 on women, peace, and security, Afghan women were further encouraged by the international community to fully participate at all levels of Afghanistan’s then believed to have been post-conflict processes (Armstrong 184; Farhoumand-Sims 2008).  23 For more on the Bonn Conference, please consult Hamish Nixon and Richard Ponzio’s “Building Democracy in Afghanistan: The Statebuilding Agenda and International Engagement,” International Peacekeeping, 14:1, 26-40.   39 that have always given equal rights to women. He then pointed to the constitutions of 1964 and 1977 to support his claim (Armstrong 187-188). Nevertheless, Karzai was overlooking the fact that Afghanistan has traditionally had what could only be described as a misogynist society which at no point in its history has realistically accorded equal rights to women. It would take more than a signature on a document authored in the West to alter the status quo vis-à-vis women’s second-class status in Afghanistan. Right from the outset, efforts in redressing women’s rights abuses in Afghanistan did not take into account the culture and religion of Afghanistan. Most of the so-called reforms lacked a multifaceted approach that was grassroots-based and supported by domestic and local trust networks of people. In other words, the well-intentioned measures were too liberal for what the Afghan society could handle. They would provoke resistance because of collision with the patriarchal attitudes and the traditional customs in Afghanistan (Farhoumand-Sims 2008). For instance, when Dr. Sima Samar, the then Minister of Women’s Affairs, suggested the introduction of reproductive health classes to families across Afghanistan, she faced fierce oppositions and wide-spread criticisms, even from within her own ministry (Armstrong 193). In fairness, she was only trying to introduce a measure to tackle the issue of high maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, she would soon be accused of imposing Western ideas on the Afghan society and later Karzai would acquiesce to clergies’ demand to remove her as the Minister of Women’s Affairs for allegedly committing blasphemy (Moghadam 331).  Moreover, there seems to have been an overly optimistic conclusion that with the fall of Taliban and the presence of international forces in Afghanistan, the old misogynist traditions, held dear by an overwhelming majority of Afghans, would somehow dissipate and the condition of women would improve overnight. This was conflicting given the fact that in the past every   40 time the Afghan government introduced measures to protect women’s rights, local Afghans regarded them as unwarranted government interferences in their lives (Zulfacar 2006). Thus, gender-related reforms have traditionally met the resistance of the rural population who have at times offered military service and levies in exchange for avoiding the implementation of those reforms in their areas. Some have even taken up arms against the government.  Taking into account the effects of more than five years of Islamic fanaticism under the Taliban combined with the conservative social norms in Afghanistan, the backlash of western influenced and incompatible gender initiatives such as Dr. Samar’s reproductive health classes were anything but unexpected. The introduction, let alone the enforcement, of gender-related programs, decrees and initiatives designed without paying attention and observance of the conservative traditions of Afghanistan would prove to be a daunting task (Zulfacar 2006). Sunita Mehta from Women for Afghan Women said that the only reason her NGO was successful was because it earned the trust of local people through respecting their traditions. She adds: “To work for Afghan women’s rights, and not sincerely accept, acknowledge and respect the fact that most Afghans are practising [sic] Muslims, is simply ineffective” (Tripathi 2003). Therefore, a sticky issue for women’s rights advocates and, the larger democracy promotion enterprise, is to fuse local traditions with international norms in the design and delivery of their aid programs in such way that at the end they empower Afghan women and establish their rights and privileges in the context of the local traditions and practices (Mertus 67). 4.2.2.  The Way Forward: Could Faith-Based CSOs Play a Role  In the current Afghan milieu, restrictions, the kinds that bear out elements of Taliban’s restrictions, on women’s social, political, and economic mobility continue. Violent attacks against them have increased and rural Afghanistan in particular is creeping towards a descent to   41 the oppressive days of Taliban’s rule. Challenges and setbacks in the treatment of women in the post-Taliban Afghanistan are emblematic of how the wider transition to democracy in the country is under threat. There could be hope, however. Going back to the earlier point on the inclusion of faith-based CSOs, one could argue that faith-based humanitarianism is influential in the region. If changes to improve women’s rights and conditions are introduced, in small and manageable dosages, in consultation with faith-based CSOs, there may be less resistance to those measures. This is because given the desultory relationship of the central state with rural Afghanistan and the conservatism of the Afghan society, the response to faith-partnered initiatives is usually positive. For instance, tackling the rampant abuses against Afghan women requires an acknowledgement of the diverse male attitudes towards women. While some men resist the idea of gender equality, there are others that respond positively to it. Thus, it is important to bear in mind that “the western perceptions of simply abandoning repressive practices of their culture and adopting the ‘superior’ western culture is nothing but counterproductive” (Rostami-Povey 130). To create more opportunities and freedoms for women and/or make justice more accessible to abused women, it may be more helpful to introduce programs in partnership with faith-based CSOs. A specific project where such a partnership could yield positive results is in defining the extent of the unclear framework of the Islamic Sharia laws and their often overriding and excluding effects on the Afghan judiciary processes. This would involve bringing religion into the discourse of oppression against women and using it as a powerful tool to make a lasting impact on the observing male population. The implementation of such a project is necessary so as to avoid free and literal interpretations of the Quranic and Sharia legal references by justice and other local officials.   42 As Tilly posits, democratization does not stand a chance at success when gender-based social inequalities are crystallized and translated into public politics to the extent that they presently do in Afghanistan. Without the participation of women, democracy promotion is doomed to become another historic footnote on failed experiments in this rugged hinterland. It is hoped, however, that the international investments in establishing and reforming the justice and administrative systems in Afghanistan will eventually lead to a fair system where major, if not all, inequalities are addressed in such way that women will have access to systems and due processes. Considering the fact that certain oppressive practices are deeply entrenched in the society and embedded in the religion, it will take a long time before changes are implemented and accepted by local Afghans such that they would allow women effective participation in social, political and economic affairs. Until that happens, the West will unfortunately have to contend with the slow pace of progress in this regard. 5. Autonomous Power Clusters and Public Politics: De-Warlordization of Afghan  Politics  Tilly’s third required alteration to facilitate transition into a new democratic political order is “reducing autonomous power clusters within the regime’s operating territory, especially clusters that dispose of their own concentrated coercive means” (137). These clusters of power – such as military rulers and warlords – remain largely outside the realm of control and influence of the state (Tilly 76, 137). They also include existing interpersonal connections that defend or oppose the status quo distribution of resources and services and can “strongly [affect] the possibility that the regime’s public politics will move toward broad, equal, protected, and mutually binding consultation” (Tilly 76). Tilly posits that democratization will not take place if these power centres are not   43 integrated into public politics, made contingent to the expression of popular will, and subjected to political participation through democratic processes (76, 137-8). Promotion of democracy, in a viable manner, necessitates that the influence of these power centres are curbed and “citizens’ acquisition of collective capacity that indirectly checks or bypasses autonomous power centers” are maximized (Tilly 139).  As far as Afghanistan is concerned, the prevalence of warlords has dogged the democratization enterprise because in many ways, warlords have become, in Tilly’s words, the “autonomous domestic rivals to the state” (Tilly 161). The country has been left in shatters and “[t]he brutal rule of the Taliban has been replaced by the brutal rule of warlords” – a desperate reminder that the presence of warlords in high ranks of Karzai’s government is engendering a climate of fear in Afghanistan (Rostami-Povey 130). External support for warlords is destabilizing Afghanistan. The United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, need to decide whether they are with President Karzai and other reformers in Kabul or with the warlords. The longer they wait, the more difficult it will be to loosen the warlords’ grip on power (HRW Documents on Afghanistan 2003, 3).  The difficulty is, considering the earlier discussion in this paper, the Afghan state possesses neither the coercive capacity to subordinate these autonomous power centres nor the administrative capacity to establish effective surveillance over their activities (Donini, Niland & Wemester 2004). In following Tilly’s theoretic framework, I maintain that democracy promotion will not succeed until and unless the threat that the warlords pose to “popular influence over public politics” is neutralized (Tilly 164). 5.1.  Why Do Warlords Exist? I offer two explanations. Firstly, considering the weakness of the state to penetrate the periphery, Afghan warlords have historically been able to dominate the periphery. Secondly, ethnic conflict has a protracted history in the country and warlords have been able to provide a   44 modicum of protection to their people, in the absence of the state, and form client-patron relationships in the process. The first point, the absence of governance, has already been discussed in great details. The second point, however, warrants further elaboration.  Ethnic conflicts in Afghanistan, and the associated phenomenon of warlordism, date back to the reign of the Afghan king, Amir Abdur Rahman Khan, who ruled Afghanistan between 1880 and 1901.24 Amir’s state enjoyed despotic power but lacked infrastructural power and the capacity to provide services, monitoring and surveillance (Rubin 2002, 13; Dupree xix). In an effort to transform the strictly tribal Afghan state into a central and unitary entity, the authoritarian ruler treated the opposition of discontented non-Pashtun25 Although the phenomenon has historic roots, the present-day strengthened position of warlords can also be traced to the US strategy of hiring anti-Taliban armed formations such as the various northern Jihadi commanders as well as arming Pashtun tribal militias in the south who had rebranded themselves, as far as Washington could see, as anti-Taliban and pro-Karzai. “The U.S. and its allies rearmed anti-Taliban [Pashtun] forces, provided them with tactical support through U.S. special forces [sic] liaisons with them on the ground, and gave aerial  groups as subversions and crushed them with brutally excessive force (Olesen 63; Rubin & Malikyar 20). Furthermore, he strengthened ethnic cleavages by channeling economic benefits only to the members of his ethnic group. Amir Abdur Rahman Khan “in effect established an ethnic hegemony, thereby putting a wedge between the major ethnic group [Pashtuns] and rest of the minorities” (Misra 43). Thus, recorded history has the origins of Afghanistan’s warlordism and ethnic conflicts to the late 19th century.  24 Afghan rulers have historically used the title Amir to describe themselves. It is the shortened form of Amirul Momi’nin, an Arabic word for the leader of the faithful. 25 In this paper, the term ‘non-Pashtun’ would is used to refer to Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmens collectively.   45 bombing support” ((HRW Documents on Afghanistan 2003, 6). It appears that, right from the outset, virtually no consideration was given to the long- term implications of arming and empowering the Afghan warlords, those responsible for most of the deaths and destructions, and its consequences for democracy promotion, security and stability in the country (Maley 307). Today, the American-supported warlords have aggravated inter- ethnic relations because their claim to legitimacy rests on the familiar theme of protecting the rights and privileges their ethnic groups and on their continued possession of arms (Peimani 49). In addition, it is clear that the “abusive records of many warlords and their forces were often overlooked as international powers sought to advance their strategic interests in Afghanistan” (HRW Documents on Afghanistan 2003, 6). Subsequently, because of the American alliance with the warlords, “[a] culture of impunity is establishing itself, where he who is powerful enough will go unpunished for violence and abuses, corruption or drug production” (Simonsen 723). Thus, warlords have resurfaced to monopolize power in Afghanistan again, and this time, with Americans behind them, no one can stop them from engaging in bloody turf wars, drug trafficking, resisting the central government, conflict mongering, and carving up the country among themselves.  But why would Americans form alliances with these warlords given their abysmal past? One argument is that since the Afghan security forces, at the time of the invasion of 2001, were practically non-existent, the US and other NATO countries found it tactically convenient to integrate warlords, criminal elements and militia leaders into their fighting ranks (Rotberg 2007). The other argument is it was done with the hopes of avoiding a civil war between warlords who, in the absence of the leviathan, the Taliban, were now free to fight each other and settle old scores. According to this narrative, the Afghan government, for now, has no option but to   46 tolerate regional bullies and criminal elements but it can, later on, once it has the coercive capacity to rid itself of them (Rotberg 2007). The challenge to democratization is that mechanisms organized around predatory warlords continue to shape Afghan politics. The presence of some ministers and other governmental officials who moonlight as drug dealers and notorious criminals in the Afghan government will continue to hamper democracy promotion in Afghanistan. What is even more troubling is that through distributing the spoils of their monopoly over the illicit drug trade to members of their groups, warlords will easily win seats and offices. “With the drug trade booming, warlords and regional commanders have plentiful supplies of ill-gotten gains with which to secure the support of their local constituencies. In a country as impoverished as Afghanistan, such inducements can have a major impact on election results” (Sedra 2004). In light of this, “[h]olding elections under current circumstances in Afghanistan will at best insult democracy and at worst spark a civil war” (Ingalls 2004). Low turnout, widespread allegations of fraud, notorious warlords topping the ballots; it is fair to say that Afghans harbour at best dim hopes for their new parliament…  In many provinces local strongmen offering nothing but the promise of patronage or the threat of retribution have triumphed, as have many feudal and spiritual figureheads (Economist 2005).  5.2.  Post-WWII Europe and Lessons for Afghanistan The European denazification and defascitization experience in the aftermath of the Second World War could offer some lessons to Afghanistan in dealing with the burden of legacy of warlords.26  26 Talibanization is another major issue that could be addressed here. However, given that the conflict with Taliban is still ongoing and since they, the Taliban, are outside the sphere of the current Afghan state and political institutions, the problems of Talibanization and de-Talibanization are not included in this discussion.  I say some lessons because, at the risk of stating the obvious, comparing lawless post-Taliban Afghanistan with post-WWII Germany, for instance, where Rechtsstaat principles   47 prevailed may not be meaningful. In this regard, considering the embeddedness of the warlords in the current Afghan systems, however, a pardon, prosecute and purge approach for warlords, who can form “a cohort for the propagation of discontent and the promotion of antidemocratic leanings and activities” (Herz 30) may not be helpful. The other reason that going after warlords is not advisable is that introducing questionnaires modeled after the German Fragebogen, local boards such as Spruchkammem or denazification courts such as Spruchgerichte to incriminate, exempt and exonerate warlords is simply beyond the administrative capacity of the Afghan state. These measures may be introduced at a later date – perhaps after a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, one ideally modeled after the South African example has had a chance to investigate claims, perpetrators and crimes. What is immediately needed, under the rubric of de-warlordization, is a policy of exclusion/non-admission into positions of authority and power and electoral contests for those who have tainted pasts as warlords. The portion of the Potsdam Agreement on removing and preventing Nazis from obtaining positions of influence is particularly noteworthy in this regard. Here, the reference is to Germany’s democratization through denazification (Herz 24). This, in the case of Afghanistan, could well be democratization through de-warlordization of Afghan politics. To summarize, since the integration of warlords as coercion-controlling political intermediaries have had disastrous consequences for the nascent Afghan democracy, this thesis recommends the de-warlordization of public sphere through a systematic and gradual disengagement of warlords from Afghan politics. The empirical limitation of this recommendation is, however, that it may be very difficult to pursue this goal through liberal measures as the Afghan warlords, in the absence of countrywide democratic parties, have worn   48 the mask of democracy by way of buying their votes in a system that is purportedly democratic. They have learnt to play the new game in town, façade democracy, and can get themselves elected as the representatives of the people.27 Therefore, it may require the adoption of tough medicine, an illiberal measure, to use Fareed Zakaria’s term, such as banning them from running for office and elections28 PART 3 – BRIEF CONCLUDING REMARKS  which could, in turn, promote the dissolution of these power centers and increase chances for the adoption of more inclusive forms of public political participation in the long run. Once warlords are no longer able to hold positions of power, their ability to maintain patron-client systems would also diminish.  This thesis has conceptualized democracy “as a continuum and a process rather than a system that is simply either present or absent” (Diamond xxi). It has taken into account that since Islamic countries such as Afghanistan have different histories and varying political traditions, they are inclined to follow their own paths to democracy. It has also considered that there is no single defining vision of democracy. The concept has evolved spatiotemporally and democracy, as an ideal, has never been perfectly realized in any polity. Given the idiosyncrasies of Afghanistan and its historical trajectories, Afghan democracy too will be imperfect in the end – no matter how much time, money and international effort is put into the enterprise. What is hoped, and is to a degree certain, however, is that democratization would lead to a gradual widening of the public sphere and an eventual deepening of the institutions. Promoting democracy, thus, requires time so that the country could undergo the long-term, exhaustive and 27 Famous examples include the election of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the supposed inspirational leader of the Abu-Sayyaf terrorist group in Philippines, and Younus Qanooni, a key commander of the Northern Alliance into the Afghan Parliament. Both candidates are implicated in some of the worst atrocities of the civil war of the 1990s. 28 Similar to what is currently being done in Egypt with Mubarak associates formally barred from running for office.   49 multi-phased democratization processes that Tilly proposes.  To summarize, Tilly’s theoretical mechanisms and necessary processes to better promote and entrench democracy, as I have understood and applied them to the case of Afghanistan, consist of increasing the integration of trust-based networks such as the faith-based CSOs into public politics such that they could create conditions of broad, equal and protected consultations; buffering public politics from gender-based categorical inequalities; and, de- warlordizing the Afghan politics as a way of decreasing the autonomy of these power centers from public politics. On integrating trust networks, it is helpful to bear in mind that Afghanistan has been at war for more than 30 years. Mistrust, therefore, runs deep in the country. Throughout the conflict period, however, religion provided solace to war-stricken Afghans and religious institutions of many types exist and wield considerable influence. Subsequently, faith-based CSOs can play a defining role in the democratization project. For instance, from a conflict resolution perspective, it could provide hope and smoothen the transition for those moderate Taliban who may choose to renounce violence and embrace the deliberative alternative to addressing their grievances. It could further help them acquire the skills needed to interact with the state to influence policies and develop the organizational capacity to mobilize voters in times of electoral contests. Faith- based CSOs could also broaden political participation among the religiously observant and civically active Afghans. In the same vein, although they have the capacity to address a myriad of non-religious issues, their most important contribution could come by way of accelerating social change where religious resistance has historically stifled progress, such as in the area of women’s rights. Thus, the inclusion of faith-based CSOs, I maintain, will deepen democracy. On the abysmal plight of gender-based inequalities, after more than a decade of designing   50 and implementing Western-inspired programs and projects, success has been marginal. There is a sense of fatigue and resignation among Afghan women. Diamond submits that “democratic change is produced not by abstract historical and structural forces but by individuals and groups choosing, innovating, taking risks” (xxi). An innovative undertaking, in this regard, would be to reach out to Afghan men, at the grassroots level, through faith-based CSOs, with the overarching objective of enlisting their help to end gender-based violence. Such a project could also aim to engage with Afghan women and stimulate democratic participation among them so that they could eventually stand up for their rights. The end goal is that Afghan women will no longer have to live under the shadows of suspicion and degradation in a male-dominated society. Similarly, de-warlordizing Afghan politics would address issues of intimidation and predatory behaviour through inhibiting warlords from dominating the political scene. Given the dysfunctional character of the Afghan government (the judicial system in particular), it could also disintegrate client-patron relationships and develop people’s bargaining skills when it comes to articulating and expressing interests and differences. In this regard, considering the bitter histories of tribal rivalries and ethnic massacres, de-warlordizing Afghanistan could also help the Afghan state establish itself as a tribally heterogeneous and ethnically stratified entity that would remain the protector of the interests of all ethnic and tribal groups. To conclude, Tilly offers a useful theoretical framework on how to better promote and entrench democracy in Afghanistan. His proposed alterations could ultimately ameliorate state- citizen interactions and aggregate popular will through due, deliberative and consultative processes. The mechanisms that he has laid out could empower Afghans to transcend their differences and propagate virtues of deliberation and collaboration. Afghans, in due course, could learn to demand accountability and transparency, channel their interests into political   51 systems, compromise and build consensus when attaining common objectives. There is little doubt that the challenges that lie ahead of the country point to a punctuated, protracted and complex path for the democratization enterprise. Following Tilly’s theoretical suggestions, and with sustained international support, however, it is conceivable that the country would be in a much better stead to develop a democratic culture with sophisticated legislations and regulations that would protect and empower all Afghans.   52 WORKS CITED: ----   “Multi-multi-party democracy; Afghanistan.” The Economist (US) 377.8449 (October 22,  2005): 46. Web. Al-Sayyid, Mustapha Kamel. “A Clash of Values: U.S. Civil Society Aid and Islam in Egypt.” In  Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion. Edited by Thomas  Carothers and Marina Ottaway. Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International  Peace, 2000. Print. 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