State-building and the armed forces in modern Afghanistan: A structural analysis

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3 Scopus citations


NATO's ISAF mission in Afghanistan ended on 31 December 2014. The future of Afghanistan is now largely in the hands of the Afghan National Army (ANA). NATO countries have invested billions of dollars in the ANA to create an actor that can provide stability and partner with the Afghan government to further state development. But civil-military relations in Afghanistan have proven historically difficult. NATO allies believe that the ANA will be a partner for the government, but the military might also intervene in governance, and become a destabilizing force. Using the unique timing of the ANA's development and NATO handover, this article applies the Stepan-Desch's structural theory of civil-military relations to the case of Afghanistan to hypothesize about the future of Afghan civil-military relations. It argues that, given the dominance of internal threats in Afghanistan, it is highly likely that the military will intervene directly in Afghan governance, rather than maintain a western standard of military non-involvement in governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-334
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 21 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • ANA
  • Afghanistan
  • NATO
  • civil-military relations
  • coup theory
  • coups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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