Since the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan in late 2001, Afghan citizens and members of the global community have been grappling with the question of how to build a state that can fill the void created by decades of conflict and violence. However, the concept of “state-building” is complex. The term describes both an internal process and international assistance; it requires short-term action as well as a long-term vision. While no precise formula for state-building exists, there are historical precedents and “models” of state-building expressed by great powers and multilaterals. In reality, however, these are based on best guesses that fail to be universally applicable. Some models of state-building are transferable to a degree, but ultimately require attention to the uniqueness and historical experience of each country.

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