This thematic report compares the current US-led intervention and the Soviet state-building intervention that took place between 1979 and 1989. It focuses on three sectors of state-building: the security sector, fiscal policy, and state legitimation, and explores how issues of ownership and sequencing have influenced the outcomes of both state-building efforts.
The paper describes how Soviet-promoted state-building was severely hampered by the rural mujahedin insurgency, factionalism within the PDPA, and the failure to reach fiscal sustainability. The ‘stopgap’ measures aimed at reducing military pressure on the regime, through the creation of militias and the conclusion of ‘protocols’, was ultimately a major factor in the regime’s collapse. The US-led state-building in Afghanistan, in comparison, suffered from bad sequencing, while the adoption of ‘stopgap’ measures in the security sector threaten to undermine earlier state-building successes.
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This article was last updated on 9 Mar 2020