Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Polities, and the Rise of the Taliban

By Aboul-Enein, Youssef H. | Military Review, May-June 2003 | Go to article overview

Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Polities, and the Rise of the Taliban


Aboul-Enein, Youssef H., Military Review


Larry P. Goodson, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2002, 264 pages, $22.50

Working on his doctoral dissertation and armed with a grant from the American Institute for Pakistan studies, Associate Professor Larry P. Goodson became hooked on the region. His first book is a great find for those with little knowledge about modern Afghanistan The easy-to-read book delves into the events that have shaped a war-thorn country and the character of its people.

The first chapter eloquently describes four factors that are obstacles to nation-building in Afghanistan. First, Afghanistan's population features deep, multifaceted cleavages. Primarily, people are divided ethnically and linguistically and further subdivided into tribes and sectarian and racial divisions. Second, although Afghanis are united by faith, local customs are interwoven into religion, causing variations in the way Islam is practiced and interpreted. Third, the Afghan social system is based solely on communal loyalties, emphasizing tribe above state. Fourth, Afghanistan's rugged terrain serves to isolate it, not only internationally, but also from the central government in Kabul. These factors undermine any efforts at establishing a viable government.

Although the nation possesses Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara, and Aimaq populations, the Pushtuns have led the country since the mid-18th century. Goodson identifies the major groupings of the Pushtuns: the Durranis, who ruled from 1749 to 1978; the Ghilzais with whom the Durranis compete for power; and a patchwork of 11 smaller tribes classified as true Pushtuns.

Pushtun dominance ensured the adoption of their tribal code as the law of the land. Known as pushtunwali, the tribal code includes such basic concepts as melmastia (hospitality), nanawati (asylum), badal (revenge), and ghayrat (defense of honor). The Pushtun tradition also includes the convening of the tribal council also known as jirga to resolve major issues. NonPushtuns resent such ascendancy and dominance and have attempted to destabilize the ruling ethnic group. This begins to explain why the nation continues to lapse into civil war after foreign enemies have been defeated.

In trying to understand the totality of the Soviet intervention of Afghanistan and beyond (from 1978 to 1998), Goodson identifies eight distinct phases of the decade-long war.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Polities, and the Rise of the Taliban
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.