Summary: Going beyond the stereotypes of Kalashnikov-wielding Afghan mujahideen and black-turbaned fundamentalists, Larry Goodson combines Taliban interviews and field research with concise analysis to explain has been happening in Afghanistan in the last twenty years, and why the future of Afghanistan matters.
As it has been through the ages, Afghanistan remains the vital crossroads connecting Central, South, and Southwest Asia. It is the linchpin to trade in the p ...show moreotentially oil-rich new states of Central Asia. The Taliban's role in exporting political Islamism adds fuel to an already incendiary situation in the region. All of Afghanistan's neighbors - Pakistan, Iran, India, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, even Turkey and China, along with the United States - jockey to manipulate its internal affairs in their own interests.
Illuminating the myriad cleavages along ethnic, religious, social, and geographical fault lines, Goodson examines the devastating course of the Afghan war. He charts its utter destruction of the country, from the deaths of more than two million Afghans and the dispersal of some six million others as refugees to the complete collapse of Afghanistan's economy, which today has been replaced by monoculture in opium poppies and heroin production. The Taliban now uneasily control roughly 80 percent of the country but themselves show increasing discord along ethnic and political lines.
Can Afghanistan reemerge from its long war and be rebuilt as a stable nation-state?. Just as Afghanistan's neighbors and the United States helped to prolong its war, they now hold the key to its future peace and stability. While Goodson offers a comprehensive framework for understanding the most likely scenarios, only one thing is certain: what happens in Afghanistan will continue to affect stability and security in an increasingly important region of the postÐCold War world. ...show less