Reviews

Providing rich and detailed descriptive elements of the Loya Jirga in modern Afghanistan, in particular on that conveyed 2002 in the aftermath of the Bonn Agreement, the author very usefully questions the theoretical framing of the available ethnographical and historical data dealing with the Loya Jirga as a hegemonic process providing legitimising consent for the country’s successive rulers.  M. J. Hanifi notably shows how through it the Afghan government effected the co-optation of Pashtuns.  “The falsehood of the 1747 assembly, the ‘coronation’ of Ahmad Khan Abdali, and his ‘election’ as king in a borderless context subsidised by external resources is re-enacted in the 2002 neo-colonial government of Kabul, imposed by outsiders on a handpicked assembly of Afghans, guarded by international armed forces, all underwritten by international donations.  The myth of the selection of Ahmad Khan as ruler by a Sufi is structurally similar to the designation of Hamid Karzai as the governor of Kabul.”  He concludes that the prospects for a democratically reconstituted Afghanistan depend on how Afghans can “dissociate its architecture from the falsehood of its democratic past.”

The Redaction
CER: I-8.4.B-731