A history of struggle and survival By Amin Saikal
Published by I B Tauris ISBN 978-1850434375 Price £14.99 paperback
Afghanistan’s recent history is a sad one: Soviet invasion in 1979; Pakistan-backed internal conflict in the 1980s; the Taliban regime; and then the US invasion and the multi-national occupation after the events of 11 September 2001. Why does Afghanistan remain so vulnerable to domestic instability, foreign intervention and ideological extremism? In reconstructing the tempestuous narrative of modern Afghanistan, Amin Saikal provides a new understanding of its troubled past and present. He identifies the country’s inability to develop stable political structures as stemming from the inter-dynastic rivalry (complicated by polygamy) that scarred successive royal families from the end of the 18th century until the pro-Soviet Communist coup of April 1978. The book examines how internal issues were exacerbated by foreign interventions – feeding on fragile domestic structures – and the rise and fall of different ideological streams. Here, for the first time, is an up-to-date analysis of the era of the Taliban’s rule, the effects of US domination in the country and attempts to negotiate a US withdrawal – including talks about talks with the Taliban themselves.