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      Clash of Identities : Ontological (In)Securities of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Repercussions

      Policy Perspectives
      Ontological Security, State Identity, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pashtuns, Pashtun Identity


            The notion of security denotes freedom from threats. Ontological security implies emancipation from threats to core values that identify a person or a state. This article demonstrates the Pak-Afghan relationship as a case in point. It offers a relatively new perspective for understanding the continued contentious relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It argues that the Pashtun state identity of Afghanistan mismatches with the Islamic identity of Pakistan. This causes cognitive anxiety over self-identity in both states, which confronts their respective ontological (in)security challenges. Consequently, both countries engage in dangerous routines of self-identity affirmation to manage their ontological (in)securities. The routines often have harmful consequences for the civilian population, especially in the Pashtun areas of Pakistan.


            Author and article information

            Policy Perspectives
            16 November 2022
            : 19
            : 2
            : 1-20
            [1 ] The University of Tromsø – UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway;
            © 2022 Farhat Taj

            Published under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International ( CC BY 4.0). Users are allowed to share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially), as long as the authors and the publisher are explicitly identified and properly acknowledged as the original source.


            Political science
            Ontological Security, State Identity, Pakistan and Afghanistan,Pashtuns,Pashtun Identity


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