The Afghan state, for most of its existence and in its various forms, has attempted to exert sovereignty over the whole of its territory while constrained by its limited ability to directly administer unproductive, marginal areas. The political history of the Kirghiz of the Afghan Pamirs illustrates how this core-periphery model of state control has affected local governance. The resources controlled by the state as well as the state’s willingness to expend them in the Pamirs have resulted in new forms of political capital for Kirghiz leaders to exploit. In the post-Taliban period, a highly centralized government in Kabul, supported by huge amounts of international assistance, has offered unprecedented incentives for active cooperation with the state in exchange for patronage. In response, Kirghiz leaders have come to depend on access to external rather than domestic resources to maintain their influence. Declining levels of international aid to Afghanistan will render this system increasingly unstable and threaten to undermine Kirghiz strategies for negotiating with the state.
Callahan, T. (2015). Khans, kings, communists, warlords and presidents: Afghan Kirghiz socioeconomic strategies for extorting and extracting from the state. In Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research (pp. 79–93). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23198-3_6