Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

I first entered Afghanistan traveling overland as a young student almost forty years ago. Like many travelers, I was awed by the country’s scenery and fascinated by its people. Unlike most others I returned to learn more. That journey never ended but has often been detoured. It first encompassed years of ethnographic fieldwork...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

Landlocked Afghanistan lies in the heart of Asia, and links three major cultural and geographic regions: the Indian subcontinent to the southeast, central Asia to the north, and the Iranian plateau in the west. Geography may not be destiny but it has set the...

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CHAPTER ONE: People and Places

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pp. 17-65

Political scientists often give primacy to individuals, political parties, and ideologies in their studies. Those that employ models of “rational choice” assume that individuals always try to maximize their interests or minimize their pain when it comes to making decisions. When people are...

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CHAPTER TWO: Conquering and Ruling Premodern Afghanistan

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pp. 66-109

During its premodern history, the territory of today’s Afghanistan was conquered and ruled by foreign invaders. Indeed it had a positively magnetic attraction for conquerors, not because they coveted the wealth of Afghanistan, but rather because control of...

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CHAPTER THREE: Anglo-Afghan Wars and State Building in Afghanistan

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pp. 110-163

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Afghan concepts of political legitimacy were still firmly rooted in the past. Competition for state power was restricted to a small Durrani elite, and their replacement meant little to the ordinary people on the...

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CHAPTER FOUR: Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century: State and Society in Conflict

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pp. 164-271

Abdur Rahman’s successors found it difficult to maintain the fearful degree of state supremacy that he had imposed on Afghanistan. Although every Afghan government aspired to achieve the same level of power and centralization attained by the Iron Amir, few...

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CHAPTER FIVE: Afghanistan Enters the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 272-336

The arrival of the United States in Afghanistan to expel the Taliban marked the fourth time in 160 years that a foreign power put troops on the ground there. But while the British in the nineteenth century invaded with plans to replace the existing regimes, and the Soviets invaded in...

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CHAPTER SIX: Some Conclusions

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pp. 337-350

Both Afghans and foreigners remain tied to visions of what they wish the country to be that obscures its present reality and possible futures. The long view of Afghanistan and its history present possibilities for resolving the country’s current problems, but it also...

Notes

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pp. 351-358

References

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pp. 359-366

Index

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pp. 367-389