The drugs economy has been an important part of the story of borderland transformation in Afghanistan. Because of drugs, borderlands are no longer marginal, but have become a resource to be exploited by the centre of the fragile state. This Working Paper explores the linkages between the drugs economy, borderlands and 'post conflict' state-building in Sheghnan, a remote district on the Afghan-Tajik border in the north-east Afghanistan. It does this through a fine grained historical analysis of Sheghnan. As such the paper argues that examining the frontier may throw light on processes of state formation, state collapse and 'post conflict' state-building. A focus on borderlands means taking seriously the 'politics of place' and examining the diffuse dynamics and localised projects that feed into and shape processes of state formation.