Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival by Amin Saikal

By Amin Saikal

Amin Saikal offers a brand new method of knowing a area that's now on the heart of foreign awareness. driven to the leading edge of worldwide politics by means of the Soviet invasion of 1979, through murderous civil warfare within the Eighties, after which the institution of the Taliban regime that ended in American intervention following the disaster of September eleventh, Afghanistan's heritage is a sorry one. Saikal seeks to reply to why Afghanistan's process improvement has been so turbulent and why it is still so at risk of family instability, overseas intervention and ideological extremism. He argues that this used to be mostly as a result of rivalries stemming from a sequence of dynastic alliances in the successive royal households from the top of the eighteenth century to the pro-Communist coup of April 1978. Afghanistan: Tribal country is a vital ebook that serves the desires of becoming numbers of people that search to appreciate the heritage and political historical past of this bothered state.

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His rule was soon beset by challenges from within his own sub-clan, and revolts from other tribes and ethnic groups, particularly the Ghilzais, Khorasanis and Sistanis, forcing him to transfer the capital from Kandahar to Kabul during 1775–1776. 27 This destabilisation increased under the rule of his son, Shah Zaman (1793–1800), despite his success in maintaining the Afghan Empire within more or less the same boundaries as he had inherited. The second factor stemmed from the practice of unlimited polygamy within the ruling family.

89 Despite its narrow popular base, the Afghan monarchy managed to survive and consolidate its gains. The only reason for that was, of course, the Great Game. While the British were annexing traditional Pashtun territories in the south, they were pushing the Amirs to pursue an expansionist policy in the north to deter the Russians. Abdur Rahman’s victorious campaigns in Turkestan were blessed, financed and equipped by the government of British India. 90 Abdur Rahman died of natural causes in 1901; but despite his having taken several wives, his death did not bring as turbulent a leadership succession crisis as the deaths of his predecessors had caused.

He ultimately could not save his rule from the dangers inherent in the deep-rooted polygamic politics of the ruling family and Anglo-Russian rivalry. His decision to designate as successor his youngest son, Abdullah Jan, born from a favourite Kandahari 34 Modern Afghanistan wife but who died before the succession time, alienated his older sons, especially Mohammad Yaqub Khan and Mohammad Ayub Khan. Yaqub Khan revolted against his father’s decision and was imprisoned. 66 Sher Ali’s conciliatory realpolitik attitude towards Russia, which was manifested in the conclusion of a defensive alliance between the two sides,67 could not please the British, particularly at a time when the Russians had deftly reached the territory north of the Amu River and were in search of greater influence in Persia and Ottoman Turkey.

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