xii, 195p., Illus., Maps, Photos., App., Index, 23 cm.
CONTENTS:- Introduction; 1. Petroleum and war again; 2. Geography, climate and economic conditions; 3. Economic and social conditions; 4. Ethnic problems in Afghanistan; 5. History of a transit land; 6. Battles for liberation and the Pashtun Kingdom; 7. Reform, reaction, revolution; 8. Freedom fighters or fanatic terrorists and ruthless mercenaries; 9. Gorbachev's policy and Afghanistan; 10. The Islamic resistance; 11. Benazir Bhutto, Islamic fundamentalists and the Taliban; 12. Islam-in history and modern politics; 13. Cold war II and the east; Appendices: 1. Women's rights in Afghanistan; 2. Fundamentalism; 3. Hydrocarbons in economy and politics; 4. The oriental mode of production; 5. The squandred cultural heritage; Epilogue hijacking a part of the cold war II. Political actors in Afghanistan; Notes Literature; Chronology: 1. Early times of Afghanistan; 2. Islamic middle ages; 3. The Afghan Kingdom; 4. The Musahibun dynasty; 5. PDPA and war.
Afghanistan has been in the news for some time now. One of the least developed nations in the world, with one of the lowest life expectancy, a phenomenally high inflation at 500% and the largest number of landmines per square kilometer in the world--this country has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. A never ending civil war has seen hundreds of thousand killed and maimed and millions flee to the neighboring countries of Iran and Pakistan. The civil war continues regardless. Widows are forced to beg on the streets of Kabul as they are not allowed to work, unemployment is as high as 50%. It seems that the only occupation that an average Afghan knows is to fight. Industrialization has yet to reach these unfortunate people and the few industries that they had, have since closed. Lack of education breeds fanaticism Afghanistan is no exception. Fundamentalists like Osama Bin Laden thrive in such environment. The current rulers of a major part of Aghanistan--the Taliban have taken to following religion to ridiculous extent. While they did much to follow the 'real' Islam, they also ensured that Afghanistan became one of the largest exporters of heroin with a tenfold increase in its production in their regime. Repeated setbacks have not extinguished the spirit of the doughty Afghan though, who still carries on with life. Afghanistan had been the theatre of war between the two super powers of the world, Soviet Union and the United states. After the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets the proxy war between the two intensified. Soviet Union was bled to its ultimate demise. Afghanistan was shattered. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union many thought that peace had finally returned to Afghanistan. They were wrong. The West now eyed the Caspian oil that was now within their reach. The easiest way to bring it to the world market was through Afghanistan on to Pakistan. The war and mayhem made this impossible. Taliban was created with the tacit aim of subdueing all the tribal chiefs and ensuring the safety of the proposed pipeline. This book traces the earliest history of this ancient, beautiful country and discusses the culture and society of this tribal land. Against this backdrop the author tries to find the reasons for the strife and mayhem that has destroyed this beautiful land and its cultural heritage. Profusely illustrated, this book should be useful to the students of South Asia, Middle Eastern studies and International Relations as also those who are interested in knowing the history, sociology and politics of this ancient land the land of the Taliban.