Centralization/Decentralization in the Dynamics of Afghan History

  • Barfield T
Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


The analysis of political organization in Afghanistan is clouded by a number of myths (unconquerable, ungovernable and graveyard of empires) that are contradicted by the facts. Historically Afghanistan was peacefully governed by a wide variety of conquerors and native dynasties, but all used combinations of direct and indirect rule to create stable polities. They also relied on theories of political legitimacy that vested authority in ruling elites that, once established, returned to power after periods of disruption to bring order to the country. This pattern of successful governance has been overlooked in rebuilding Afghanistan today to the detriment of political stability




Barfield, T. (2012). Centralization/Decentralization in the Dynamics of Afghan History. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.21237/c7clio3112219

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free