Afghanistan from the Cold War through the War on Terror
Barnett R. Rubin
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One of our foremost authorities on modern Afghanistan, Barnett R. Rubin has dedicated much of his career to the study of this remote mountain country. He served as a special advisor to the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke during his final mission to the region and still serves the Obama administration under Holbrooke's successor, Ambassador Marc Grossman.
Now Rubin distills his unmatched knowledge of Afghanistan in this invaluable book. He shows how the Taliban arose in resistance to warlords some of whom who were raping and plundering with impunity in the vacuum of authority left by the collapse of the Afghan state after the Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban built on a centuries-old tradition of local leadership by students and teachers at independent, rural madrasas--networks that had been marginalized by the state-building royal regime that was itself destroyed by the Soviets and radicalized by the resistance to the invasion. He examines the arrival of Arab Islamists, the missed opportunities after the American-led intervention, the role of Pakistan, and the challenges of reconstruction. Rubin provides first-hand accounts of the bargaining at both the Bonn Talks of 2001 and the Afghan Constitutional Loya Jirga of 2003-2004, in both of which he participated as a UN advisor. Throughout, he discusses the significance of ethnic rivalries, the drug trade, human rights, state-building, US strategic choices, and international organizations, analyzing the missteps in these areas taken by the international community since 2001. The book covers events till the start of the Obama administration, and the final chapters provide an inside look at some of the thinking that is shaping today's policy debates inside the administration.
Authoritative, nuanced, and sweeping in scope, Afghanistan in the Post-Cold War Era provides deep insight into the greatest foreign policy challenge facing America today.
Iran aimed at reaching economic agreements in January 2006. Afghanistan was caught between Tehran, which tried to use Afghanistan’s need for transit to break out of its isolation over its nuclear program, and Washington, which deprived Kabul of the opportunity to exploit Tehran’s discomfiture for its own benefit. China and Russia issued veiled protests of Washington’s actions in public and sharp rebukes in private. On July 5, 2005, the heads of state of the members of the Shanghai Cooperation
reserves.47 One study reported the water table dropping by one meter per year in tube well areas.48 Other parts of Afghanistan’s environment have also become severely degraded. Both the hardwood forests of the east and the pistachio groves of the north have been rapidly depleted by peasants seeking firewood and timber merchants seeking construction materials. Soil quality has been eroded through lack of care and leeching by repeated poppy harvests. Air pollution in Kabul city is now among the
purpose of such investments would be to facilitate private-sector-led growth, ways should be sought to associate the private sector itself with regional cooperation. Business associations of several countries, including Afghanistan, participated in the May 2004 Bishkek conference. Any interstate committees that are formed to oversee or monitor projects should also include representatives of the private sector, and the latter’s organizations should be supported as well. Besides such support for
Musharraf told his nation that he had to cooperate with Washington in order to “save Afghanistan and Taliban from being harmed”; accordingly, he has been all too happy to follow the Bush administration’s instructions to focus on al-Qaeda’s top leadership while ignoring the Taliban. Intelligence collected during Western military offensives in mid-2006 confirmed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was continuing to actively support the Taliban leadership, which is now working out of
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