State-building, migration and economic development on the frontiers of northern Afghanistan and southern Tajikistan

Christian Bleuer
2012 Journal of Eurasian Studies  
The Kunduz River Valley of northern Afghanistan and the Vakhsh River Valley of southern Tajikistan followed what initially appear to be vastly different trajectories. Despite these two adjacent areas having had much in common throughout many periods of history, the present-day region of northern Afghanistan was eventually taken under the control of the Afghan state while the areas north of the Amu Darya and Panj River were to become part of the Soviet Union. However, instead of a divergent
more » ... e of development and statebuilding, these two regions were subjected to very similar patterns of agricultural development and migration policies. "Empty" areas were to be populated, by force if necessary, wetlands were to be drained for agriculture, and cotton farming was to become preeminent. The end result in both areas was the creation of a socially diverse and economically significant region that was fully integrated into the modern state's economy and politics. This article analyzes and compares the motives and implementation of the state-building projects in both of these now domestically important regions and finds remarkable similarities despite the obvious differences in the structure of the Afghan and Soviet states.
doi:10.1016/j.euras.2011.10.008 fatcat:zpdh735eb5eqnk7uyolilsm33i