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Playing the Ethnic Card: On the Ethnicization of Afghan Politics

Release date: 2016-12

Ethnicity became a pivotal element of the Bonn Agreement 2001 aiming to end the civil wars in Afghanistan that have been ongoing since 1979. In the political process, ethnic categories were understood as key building blocks of Afghan society. In essence, the Bonn Agreement sought to outbalance ethnic interest to overcome a decisive root cause of this protracted conflict. This article argues that this approach, however, produced the contrary outcome – that is, the political manifestation of ethnicity in Afghan politics. Hereby the political architects of the Bonn Agreement ignored the fuzziness of the concept of ethnicity in Afghan society as well as the implicit and strategic way of using ethnicity in the political arena.

Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 16(3), 460-477.