College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Public Services - Public Administration


Afghanistan, Nation-State Building, Counterinsurgency Theory, The Taliban, Al Qaeda


The U.S. war in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the longest military conflict in American history. Since the initial U.S. military intervention in 2001, over 1,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed, and over 6,000 have been injured. Over 700 coalition soldiers have been killed, and 4,000 have been injured. It is estimated that over 20,000 Afghan civilians have also been killed. U.S. defense operations in Afghanistan have also cost U.S. taxpayers over $200 billion dollars. Soon after the U.S. intervention in 2001, efforts to develop Afghanistan’s political, economic, social, and security related institutions and systems have been attempted by the U.S. in order to stabilize the state. This thesis was designed to test the efficacy of U.S. nation-state building operations in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This study analyzes the following: (1) the causes for the nation-state-building operations in Afghanistan; (2) the constraints on the U.S. to conduct nation-state building operations in Afghanistan; (3) and, the political, economic, social/cultural, and security/military related challenges the U.S. and its allies are faced with in stabilizing Afghanistan. This thesis found that the U.S. operations in Afghanistan have not been effective in helping to establish nation-state institutions and systems. However, this thesis does recognize several positive attributes to the U.S. operations since the initial intervention took place in 2001. The thesis concludes with recommendations for future research and use of the data collected.

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