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Other titles in the Nations of the Modern World series:
Afghanistan: Mullah, Marx, and Mujahid (Nations of the Modern World)by Ralph H Magnus
Synopses & Reviews
Either completely ignored in world affairs or lying at the center of confrontation, Afghanistan has ricocheted between these two extremes for over two centuries. First, it was the focal point of colonial rivalry between Russia and Britain in the nineteenth century. More recently, it became the last battlefield that pitted Soviet and Western influence in the Cold War. The ignominy of the Red Army’s Afghan adventure, ending in its withdrawal in 1989, hastened the failure of a century of Soviet political experimentation and allowed the rise of a new Asia and evolution toward a new global configuration. Nevertheless, Afghanistan itself remains a region of seemingly insoluble turmoil and constant crisis.Despite the current disinterest by major world powers, Afghanistan’s impact on stability, progress, and regional cooperation remains crucial to Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and South Asian well-being. Not only does the geographic position of the country give it important status, but the conflict that continues to destabilize the region can be located in the confrontation among three forces: Mullah, the traditional element of an archetypal, publicly pious Muslim society; Marx, the old and new communists and associated secular socioeconomic forces; and Mujahid, the fighters for a Muslim Afghanistan, mobilized as much by ardent nationalism as by their religious zeal. These three elements, which rarely are able to cooperate, have held power in Afghanistan in turns since the Soviet invasion in 1979. Their rivalry has not abated with the Soviet withdrawal but has instead resulted in a civil war that has crippled economic cooperation throughout the area. Moreover, in various guises, these three sociopolitical forces influence the entire region from Iran to the new states of Central Asia.In this broad introductory volume, Ralph Magnus and Eden Naby, whose intimacy with Afghanistan spans three decades each, detail the country’s physical situation, human environment, and modern history, as well as the rise and fall of competing internal forces, most recently the Taliban. The authors offer analytical insight into Afghanistan’s political position within the restructured Central Asian region, the ethnic relationships that complicate its political history, and the potential for stability.
In this broad introductory volume, Ralph Magnus and Eden Naby detail Afghanistan’s physical situation, human environment, and modern history, as well as the rise and fall of competing internal forces, most recently the Taliban. The authors offer analytical insight into Afghanistan’s political position within the restructured Central Asian region, the ethnic relationships that complicate its political history, and the potential for stability.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 261-276) and index.
About the Author
Ralph H. Magnus is the coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey. He is a former assistant cultural attaché of the American embassy in Kabul. A scholar of ethnic culture and politics, Eden Naby has resided throughout Central Asia. She has served on the faculties of Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Wisconsin.
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