In an interview with the Guardian, Afghan human rights activist Orzala Asharf-Nemat said it was the responsibility of the Afghan people to create their own national identity. Her point is absolutely valid. But since transnational concepts such as socialism (1980s), Islam (1990s) and democracy (2000s) have all failed to create a stable nation, we need to ask ourselves what is the single idea that resonates with all Afghans?
Unfortunately for Afghans, the idea that makes them feel that they are part of a distinct nation is the myth of their independence. This myth was the narrative upon which the Afghan state was founded in the late 19th century. Since then, it has continued to serve as the key story for political legitimacy and nation-building.