Academic journal article Military Review

Afghanistan: Mullah, Marx and Mujahid

Academic journal article Military Review

Afghanistan: Mullah, Marx and Mujahid

Article excerpt

AFGHANISTAN: Mullah, Marx and Mujahid by Ralph H. Magnus and Eden Naby. 274 pages. Westview Press, Boulder, CO. 1998. $30.00.

With the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the world's fickle attention shifted from that war-ravaged land, Since then, only occasionally have events in Afghanistan made more than a ripple among the major headlines. This is unfortunate, for the fighting did not stop.

Afghanistan is in its 20th year of continuous warfare. The underlying rationale for combat shifts among tribal, ethnic, ideological and religious differences, but the civil war still rages.

Nations that backed various Afghan factions during the Cold War era have shown little real interest in pushing for peace and reconstruction. Kabul, the capital city, only recently had its electricity restored, and Afghanistan ranks among the world's poorest countries. The countryside is ravaged, the land sewn with millions of mines. The best and brightest of its population have begun new lives in other lands.

Ralph Magnus and Eden Naby, recognized authorities on the area, have written a short, compelling book that provides a concise history of this proud, ancient civilization and updates the reader with events to mid-1997. It is a welcome volume, joining Barnett R. Rubin's The Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1995); Olivier Roy's The Failure of Political Islam (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1994); and Rasul Bakhsh Rais' War Without Winners: Afghanistan's Uncertain Transition After the Cold War (Oxford University Press, NY, 1994). …

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