The 2001 invasion and subsequent occupation consolidated ethnicised militias as a political force in Afghanistan. Inter-ethnic elite bargaining, led by the US, instituted an oligarchy grounded in the occupation. Against this, everyday politics in Afghanistan centred on social clientelism, founded on kinship networks rather than ethnicity. At the same time, formal political structures, expressed in the 2004 Constitution, were grounded in Islam and nationalist statehood rather than ethnicity. In recent years, sharp disjunctures have emerged between ethnic elites and would-be constituents, creating some electoral fluidity and ethnic de-alignment. This chapter addresses the relationship among occupation, violence and ethnicity in Afghanistan. It takes an historical perspective on the present, debating contending foundations for political solidarity and identification in the country.