Democracy and Democratisation in Afghanistan

AREU’s governance team (Mohammad Hassan Wafaey, Muneer Salamzai and Farid Ahmad Bayat) gave a presentation at the Afghan Civil Society Forum-organisation (ACSFo) on how Afghans define and perceive “democracy” and democratisation in their country. Key findings from AREU research in Balkh, Ghazni, Kabul, Nangarhar, Nimroz and Parwan provinces show that many Afghans increasingly associate democracy with individual liberal freedoms of the West, which is often seen as distant from Afghan religious and cultural norms. There is also widespread disillusionment with the benefits that democracy can bring, as it has not delivered on the expected improvements in the rule of law and economic development. Further, democratic representation in the government is seen as ineffective, due to perceived frauds and under-performance. Nevertheless, the idea of a government that is elected by popular vote is still widely welcomed. Afghans speak of the benefits of an “Islamic democracy” or “democracy within the framework of Islam.”

Associated research project : Representative Governance