The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan

The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan

The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan

The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan

Synopsis

"Focusing on Afghanistan's relations with the West during the latter half of the twentieth century, this study offers new insights on the long-term origins of the nation's recent tragedies. Roberts finds that, since the 1930s in particular, Afghanistan pursued policies far more complex, and considerably more pro-Western, than previous studies have surmised. By the end of the Second World War, Britain and Afghanistan seemed headed toward an extensive partnership in military and economic affairs. Opportunities to cement Afghanistan to the West existed, but ultimately ran afoul of regional politics, shortsighted policy, and indifference." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Those searching for the origins of the Soviet war in Afghanistan would do well to begin in December 1955. That month, Afghan Prime Minister Mohammed Daoud signed an economic aid agreement with the U.S.S.R. valued at over 100 million dollars. A subsequent agreement signed the following August promised a wholesale renovation of the Afghan military establishment. The loans enabled Daoud to implement many economic programs, while modernization of the armed forces provided him with the means to enforce a variety of social reforms, notably the abolition of traditional purdah (the seclusion of women) and chadhri (the wearing of a veil in public). Military assistance, however, also provided the conduit through which the Soviet Union would attempt to impose its will upon Afghanistan. Over time, Soviet training converted several hundred Afghan officers to radical ideologies. These officers played critical roles in both the 1973 coup that overthrew the monarchy and the 1978 revolt that brought the Communist "People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan" (PDPA) to power. Thereafter, several ill-advised reform programs, implemented amidst severe government repression, alienated the majority of the Afghan population and prompted civil war. With the government on the verge of collapse, the Soviet Union sent in troops in December 1979, which remained in Afghanistan for nearly a decade.

Afghanistan suffered tremendously during the war. Casualty estimates generally place the Afghan dead at between 1 and 2 million. The majority of the population became, at one time or another, refugees. Sadly, the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 did not bring peace to the Afghan people. Attempts to form coalition governments from the various mujahidin groups failed, and the country degenerated into multifactioned civil war, with rival warlords jostling . . .

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