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The Rule of Law and the Modernization of Afghanistan

Eggers Hall, 341

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The South Asia Center at the Moynihan Institute presents Sayed Hassan Akhlaq, from George Washington University, joined by discussant Sharif Hozoori of Cornell University. 

Afghanistan's quest for modernization, spanning more than a century, has traversed diverse ideological avenues, including constitutionalism, Marxism, Islamism, and even liberal democracy. Regrettably, none of these endeavors, despite their varied approaches, have achieved success. Notably, even Islamic initiatives, as well as efforts by the Mujahidin (pro-Western) and the Taliban (anti-Mujahidin), have encountered setbacks.

The significance of the rule of law within modernization cannot be overstated. With the overwhelming majority of Afghanistan's population adhering to Islam, a religion that emphasizes legal principles, it prompts the central question of why Islamic legalism hasn't been more instrumental in fostering the rule of law throughout Afghanistan's modernization initiatives. To delve into this inquiry, the talk will be divided into two parts: an examination of internal elements within Islamic law that have posed challenges to the process, and an exploration of external factors that have disregarded local culture, impeding the promotion of the rule of law.


Social Science and Public Policy





Open to



MAX-Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, MAX-South Asia Center


Matt Baxter


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