Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, by Larry P. Goodson

By Larry P. Goodson

Going past the stereotypes of Kalashnikov-wielding Afghan mujahideen and black-turbaned Taliban fundamentalists, Larry Goodson explains during this concise research of the Afghan warfare what has relatively been taking place in Afghanistan within the final twenty years.

Beginning with the explanations at the back of Afghanistan’s lack of ability to forge a powerful country -- its myriad cleavages alongside ethnic, non secular, social, and geographical fault strains -- Goodson then examines the devastating process the battle itself. He charts its utter destruction of the rustic, from the deaths of greater than 2 million Afghans and the dispersal of a few six million others as refugees to the full cave in of its economic climate, which this present day has been changed through monoagriculture in opium poppies and heroin construction. The Taliban, a few of whose leaders Goodson interviewed as lately as 1997, have managed approximately eighty percentage of the rustic yet themselves have proven expanding discord alongside ethnic and political traces.

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Additional resources for Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban

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The only force that could bring together people from different qawms was an outside threat, and the unity produced was always short-lived. The fourth factor limiting national unity is Afghanistan's rugged topography, including some of the world's most forbidding terrain. The Hindu Kush mountains descend from the Wakhan Corridor and the high Pamirs to bisect Afghanistan. These mountains average 4,500 to 6,000 meters in height (14,769-19,692 feet) in the zone around Kabul, with some peaks as high as 7,500 meters (24,615 feet) farther northeast.

Throughout the Great Game, one constant was the willingness of the Afghan tribesmen to fight (primarily Pushtuns against the British and Turkic peoples against the Russians), not only against foreign invaders and neighbors but among themselves as well. Since the earliest mentions of Afghans in recorded history they bave been known as fiercely capable fighters. Nothing that occurred in the nineteenth century besmirched that proud reputation. The entire century in Afghanistan was a mosaic of warfare, with different conflicts so overlapping that it is almost impossible to tell where one began or ended.

The following excerpt from a memorandum by Prince Gorchakov in 1864 aptly summarizes the Russian view of the peoples of Central Asia (and is characteristic of the similar British view of the peoples of India): 32 HISTORICAL FACTORS SHAPING MODERN AFGHANISTAN The position of Russia in Central Asia is that of all civilized states which come into contact with half-savage, wandering tribes possessing no fixed social organization. It invariably happens in such cases that the interests of security on the frontier, and of commercial relations, compel the more civilized state to exercise a certain ascendancy over neighbors whose turbulence and nomad instincts render them difficult to live with ....

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