Afghanistan - A Cultural And Political History

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Afghanistan - A Cultural and Political History

Afghanistan - A Cultural and Political History


Thomas Barfield is recognized as a prominent anthropologist who worked in Afghanistan in 1970s and remained involved in various research activities in the region. Barfield in his book - Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History - provides in-depth information about the Afghan history including tribal system, ethnic divisions, political setup and cultural settings of the country.

Thesis Statement

Thomas Barfield in his books made a successful attempt to present Afghanistan in a broad or macro historical and political context with a great understanding of country's culture.

Book Review

Barfield begins with the history of Afghanistan, which goes back to fifty thousand years ago including Upper Paleolithic and Middle sites (specifically in the Hindu Kush's northern foothills) and ample Iron Age and Bronze locations in the east, south, and north. He also focuses on the ethnic representation inside Afghanistan with its historical background. In addition, Barfield describes the internal dynamics of Afghanistan consisting of many players: the Pashtun tribes, some of them are Taliban or their allies, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras, organized-crime gangs, drug traffickers, war lords controlling different actors and, finally, the government in Kabul and provinces. Though they may seem separate actors is not so because many of them are related or hold several roles simultaneously or maintain alliances among themselves, as among the Taliban, warlords and drug trafficking. Barfield also throws some light on the role of other regional players including Pakistan and its military intelligence service (ISI), India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and some states of Central Asia. Further, Barfield also include the United States, NATO, other contributing troops to the mission in Afghanistan (ISAF) and the role of Russia, China and Al Qaeda in his discussion.

Similarly, Barfield also describes the Russia's invasion in December 1979 to support the People's ...
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