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 fairly been taking place in Afghanistan within the final twenty years.

Beginning with the explanations in the back of Afghanistan’s lack of ability to forge a robust 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 total cave in of its financial system, which at the present time has been changed by means of monoagriculture in opium poppies and heroin creation. 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 strains.

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

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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. 44 In the center of the country the Hindu Kush broadens out 20 AFGHANISTAN IN THE POST-COLD WAR WORLD into the high Hazarajat plateau, which descends and disappears into the western deserts on the Iranian border (Registan, Dasht-i-Margo, Dasht-i-Lut).

L2 The most prevalent pattern throughout Afghan history, however, is one of short-term alliances between even traditional enemies in the face of a common external threat. These temporary political bonds do not necessarily apply to other areas of Afghan tribal society (for example, trade and intermarriage do not necessarily begin or increase). When the threat is eliminated or sufficiently reduced, there is a return to regular patterns of traditional warfare (fighting between rival Afghan groups does not always stop completely anyway; it may just be curtailed).

The Afghans-the Pushtuns especially-have become "almost genetically expert at guerrilla warfare after centuries of resisting all comers and fighting among themselves when no comers were available:'53 Certainly, their tactical sophistication can be considerable; they have always specialized in hit-and-run attacks, ambushes, and similar tactics HISTORICAL FACTORS SHAPING MODERN AFGHANISTAN 37 imposed by the terrain. The intractability of the Pushtuns, made even stronger by aspects of the Pushtunwali such as its emphasis on revenge killings and appeasing honor, both justifies and enhances the doggedness that makes them such daunting warriors.

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