creative writing in the English language has been a part of the literary tradition of most former British colonies in Africa, the West Indies and South Asia for the last 150 years or so, but little critical attention was given to this writing till the mid ISBN: 9694023106 Publisher: VANGUARD BOOKS
This book follows a generally linear historical form. It starts with an account of the country and its people, and then describes and analyses its history, with particular reference to its relations with neighbouring powers and its dominant internal theme, the ongoing struggle between its rulers and tribal society. Attention is paid to the growing dichotomy during the twentieth century between an increasingly sophisticated urban elite and the traditional countryside, and its culmination in the communist coup and Soviet invasion. This is followed by an analysis of the reasons for the Soviet withdrawal and the subsequent civil war.
Compared to post-invasion Iraq, Afghanistan seems a success story; but first impressions can be misleading. The country remains on a knife-edge, and the loss of momentum in its transition from the Taliban regime puts Afghanistan at grave risk of relapsing into dangerous insecurity.
Although many Afghans have contributed courageously to rescuing their country, and some key benchmarks have been achieved, Afghanistan continues to face severe difficulties. Elite political competition is fierce, and able ministehave been removed when deemed to be occupying too much of the limelight. President Hamid Karzai, while articulate and incorruptible, remains wedded to a politics of bargaining and networking that has seen unappetizing figures promoted to positions they have then abused. This has created space for the resurgence of the Taliban in the south, with Pakistani backing. The new Afghan National Army is proving too expensive to be locally sustainable, and the police force offeonly a pale shadow of what is needed. The predominance of opium in the economy poses the risk that Afghanistan could become a nacre-state, and on a range of human development indicatoit remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with popular frustration rising. While foreign governments have contributed large sums to reconstruction, too much money ahs gone to Western contractors, at the expense of local capacity.
It is not too late to turn things around, but time is running short. Only if the Afghan government re-focuses on the delivery of competent, clean and inclusive governance and the wider world ensures that its commitments match its rhetoric, is it at all likely that disaster can be avoided. ISBN: 1850658463 Publisher: C. HURST & CO
Afghanistan dominates the news today, as it often did during the Soviet occupation two decades ago. But even in the 19th and early 20th centuries at the height of the Great Game, Afghanistan was the focal point of East-West relations. Squeezed between Russia, China, India and Persia, its tortured history provides an extraordinary glimpse into the patterns of world politics. Today, Afghanistan sits at the pivot of a region where a new Great Game is taking shape, pitched between America, its rivals and the peoples of Central Asia. ISBN: 1850438579 Publisher: I.B.TAURIS