This paper seeks to discuss the subject of Afghanistan as a Buffer State. There are several types of states in the world, and one of them is Buffer state. The paper is going to analyze the characteristics of a buffer state and analyze why Afghanistan is in the category of buffer state. The main goal of this paper is to determine the origin of Afghanistan as a buffer state. This will be by the help of past information regarding Afghanistan, its experiences and occurrences that led to the state being a buffer state. This paper will apply the historical approach in gathering information about Afghanistan as a buffer state. In addition, the paper will cite relevant cases that support this notion that Afghanistan is a buffer state. A buffer state refers to a neutral nation lying between two potentially hostile or rival states and serving to put a stop to conflict between them (Taylor, Flint, 1999, p. 25).
For instance, there have been studies that give information on why Afghanistan is a buffer state and the reason for its creation. The researchers carry out various interviews and researches in connection to Afghanistan gathering information concerning the neighboring countries and coming up with conclusions. In most cases, these researches are a convenient way of getting information that backs up the view that Afghanistan is a buffer state. Political Geography is in connection with the occurring changes in the world and their effect on the globe. In the political arena, there have been many dramatic changes, which have led to new states for example the Afghanistan state. The main reference explores various topics on Afghanistan as a buffer state concerning its geopolitics and neighboring territories. Afghanistan was a buffer state between the British Empire and the Russian Empire during the Anglo-Russian conflicts in Asia. This took place in the 19th century when the conflicts between these two regions were at their peak. The British Empire’s ruling was much of South Asia while the Russian Empire covered much of Central Asia.
The Afghans did not participate in the creation of their country. The creation of Afghanistan was by a treaty between Great Britain and Russia in the 19th century. During this, times, the two greatest forces in Asia were the Russians who were covering the south and the British who were taking hold of the north area of Asia. With time, the Britain had taken control of the entire Indian sub-continent and their rivals had managed to take control of Turkic speaking areas like Bukhara and Samarkand. Geographically Afghanistan is alternately as part of South Asia, the larger Middle East, or Central Asia. In other times, different regions of the country have been assigned to separate areas, mostly the central, Middle East or south areas of Asia.
The artificial creation of Afghanistan in the year 1893 was after Durand Line accord between the Government of colonial British India and Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. This accord was to minimize or limit the respective circles of influence in the conflict between these two powers. The current boundaries of Afghanistan were in the first place drawn to allow the country to meet the function of a buffer state between the British and Russian empires. These boundaries were because of political rivalry between Russia and Britain. Currently the nation finds itself locked between different regions each with its own sets of security issues. In the year, 1844 Russians came up with the idea of Afghanistan serving as a buffer state because the tensions between the two powers had intensified. This was despite the fact that none of the two empires wholly shelved their intentions to have power over parts of Afghanistan.
According to Michael G. Parthem, the characters of a buffer state are mostly in terms of geography, capability of distribution, and a foreign policy orientation. This means that Afghanistan is a buffer state as its location is right in between these two empires and in times of conflict, it was incapable of resolving the confrontation between Russia and Britain. It is evident that the policy orientation in Afghanistan is as the two powers have dissimilar alliance patterns. The buffer state will take both policies from the two empires, which is the case in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been at the focus of attention between the Western countries and the czarist Russian for the last centuries. During this time, none of the powerful nations had their focus on establishing stability and peace in Afghanistan as most were after their own interests (Flint, 2010, p. 72). Neighboring nations have hindered Afghan’s government from functioning and even influenced its domestic and foreign affairs. The entire Afghan issue was the matter of security between czarist Russia and imperial Britain that determine the status of Afghanistan as a buffer state rather than a matter of its independence.
Most historians believe that Afghanistan was helpful in maintaining balance of power between Russia and Britain. This is usually the role of most buffer states. When the two empires were in conflicts, the king in reign was King Abdur Rahman. When the King was getting support from the Britain Empire, there was the growing of the gap between ethnic minorities. Afghan comprises of four ethnics, which are Hazara, Pashtun, Uzbek, and Tajic. The Pashtun ethnic had the dominant part in Afghanistan, and the King was from this ethnicity. King Rahman killed about sixty percent of the Hazara ethnicity but still got subsidies and aid from the west especially from Great Britain. This led to tension between the ethnic groups in Afghanistan and eventually they were geographically segregated.
King Rahman had control over Cabul, and the British gave him the Wakhan territory to control. Peter the Great of Russia felt that Russia had to obtain a warm- water port. There was tension in the Britain Empire as Russia tried to establish a warm water port in Karachi. In the mean, time Yakub Beg was establishing a country greater Turkestan that would cover a two-mile long Turkish speaking area. Yakub in his powers invited the British, and this worried the Russians. In this state, the two empires came to an agreement that the Russians would maintain the area of North of the Oxus River while the British was to cover south of crest of the Himalayas. To avoid either of the two countries getting into conflict with each other a sort of no-man’s land was set up. A buffer state came up, which was to be in between the British and Russia empires. No country had been there before until the time of this agreement. Researches carried out on Afghanistan reveal that the main reason for it is creation was to keep armies of Britain and Russia away from each other.
It is evident in the above discussion that Afghanistan is a buffer state, which was helpful in bringing equilibrium of power between Britain and Russian empires. This is true looking at the geographical location of Afghanistan; it is right between the two empires. Looking at Afghans current political instabilities, it is clear that other nations have influence in its affairs. This means that Afghan has not been a country from the word go, and the two nations significantly affect the affairs of the country. The difficulty of Afghanistan cannot only be understood by looking just to its independence and its diplomatic relations with other countries. Afghan is currently facing other domestic issues like power struggle between the minorities in line with geopolitics of the region. In addition to these issues, there is also the matter of relations between the West and Islamic world. The onset of these problems was when Afghan was a buffer state. The British created Afghanistan to serve its own interests, and this was to avoid any more conflicts with the Russia Empire.
From the discussion, it is evident that powerful nations have influence in other regions and will do anything to meet their political, economical, and social interests. Afghanistan is a clear indication of these malicious activities of the powerful nations especially the Great Britain. Most researchers will want to come up with different methods that saw the emergence of the Afghan state, but, from first hand information, it is clear that it was a buffer state. In research, information can be from primary sources or secondary sources. Primary sources refer to information from observation, interviews, or experiments, and they normally provide researchers with first hand information. In this paper, most of the information is from primary sources and secondary sources like books and journals.
In conclusion, Afghanistan is a buffer state, and all reasons support this view. In identifying a buffer state, we use certain characteristics like its geography, its policies, and the current sovereignty of the country. In relation to Afghanistan, its geographical location supports the view that it is a buffer state. It lies right between two empires who are formidable rivals from the eras in which Afghanistan did not exist. A buffer state is found within the boundaries of two competing states. In terms of its policies, Afghanistan has a mixed pattern of political policies that contain ideologies from both Britain and Russian nations. Currently Afghan is unstable in its operations as different nations keep interfering with its affairs both at the local and foreign level. The concept of buffer state mainly bases on the fact that boundaries of these buffer states are because of regional political rivalry between super powers. Afghanistan is the best example of this situation as its history explains its origin.