Recovering the Frontier State : War, Ethnicity, and the State in Afghanistan
The book explores how legacies of internal strife and foreign invasions have altered the balance of social and political forces that provided some measure of stability to Afghanistan. The country faces structural constraints in the way of reviving itself owing to ethnic fragmentation, Taliban insurgency, and shallow social roots of political power. The central argument is that Afghanistan needs positive international engagement to find a new balance among its fractious social groups and build effective state and nationhood.
- Paperback | 238 pages
- 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 317.51g
- 16 Apr 2009
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Rasul Rais has written a thorough, complex analysis of the key issues that continue to torment Afghanistan. His recurring argument, one not often made so directly or clearly, is that too frequently the Taliban have been narrowly analyzed as a religious movement 'in the image of extremist Islamic political movements,' missing the fact that they have emerged from, and represent, Pashtun ethnic and political interests. Comparing today's conflict with the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan, Rais argues that the 'present Taliban force is built around Afghan nationalism and its driving force is Pashtun ethnicity more than it was before the American war.' This study covers a full range of sources and offers experienced insight into the continued instability in Afghanistan. -- Robert Nichols, associate professor of history, Richard Stockton College This is a very important and timely book. The volume is magisterial in scope; by far the best recent work to appear dealing with Afghan society, ethnicity and the effects of the US- led occupation. In particular, the chapter Ethnicity, Political Power, and Fragmentation is the clearest and most accessible treatment of the role of ethnonationalism in Afghanistan and the treatment of the rise of the Taliban is groundbreaking, offering far more nuanced views than earlier explanations. The volume is a must-read for South and Central asianists and those interested in US foreign policy... -- Charles Kennedy, professor of political science, Wake Forest University Rasul Bakhsh Rais has written a historically informed, highly readable critical account of efforts by the U.S. and other world powers to stabilize Afghanistan and integrate into the international system since September 11. He draws on decades of research and writing on that country, as well as Pakistan, his own country, whose fate is so closely tied to that of his neighbor. Everyone interested in Afghanistan should buy this book. -- Barnett R. Rubin, director of studies and senior fellow, Center on International Cooperation, New York University This well-researched and lucidly written book examines the effect of the recent wars in Afghanistan on the country's ethnic mosaic, state institutions, and capacity to function as a sovereign state. Rais provides an informative anaylsis of Afghanistan's intra- and interethnic relations... Highly recommended. CHOICE, October 2008 A sweeping survey of the Afghan political landscape is given perspective by a thoughtful study of the challenges to the state, the significance of ethnicity, and failures in post-conflict reconstruction. The book details the missed opportunities in US and Western policies to stabilize the country and remove the sources of global terrorism. The narrative offers a sober reminder of how the world cannot afford to allow history to repeat itself in Afghanistan. -- Marvin G. Weinbaum, Scholar-in-Residence, Middle East Institute, and former State Department analyst for Pakistan This is a very important and timely book. The volume is magisterial in scope; by far the best recent work to appear dealing with Afghan society, ethnicity and the effects of the US- led occupation. In particular, the chapter "Ethnicity, Political Power, and Fragmentation" is the clearest and most accessible treatment of the role of ethnonationalism in Afghanistan and the treatment of the rise of the Taliban is groundbreaking, offering far more nuanced views than earlier explanations. The volume is a must-read for South and Central asianists and those interested in US foreign policy. -- Charles Kennedy, professor of political science, Wake Forest University
About Rasul Bakhsh Rais
Rasul Bakhsh Rais is professor of political science at Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan.
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Table of Contents Chapter 2 1 Introduction Chapter 3 2 Ethnicity, Political Power, and Fragmentation Chapter 4 3 Rise of the Taliban and Civil War Chapter 5 4 The United States and War on Terrorism Chapter 6 5 Restructuring the Afghan State Chapter 7 6 Political Economy of Drugs and Warlordism Chapter 8 7 Afghanistan and Neighboring States Chapter 9 8 Conclusion Chapter 10 Bibliography