MODERN AFGHANISTAN The Impact of 40 Years of War

Editor M Nazif Shahrani

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What impact does 40 years of war, violence, and military intervention have on a country and its people? Modern Afghanistan is a collection of the work of interdisciplinary scholars, aid workers, and citizens to assess the impact of this prolonged conflict on Afghanistan. Nearly all of the people in Afghan society have been affected by persistent violent conflict. Issues considered in this volume include social and political dynamics, issues of gender, and the shifting relationships between tribal, sectarian, and regional communities. Contributors consider topics ranging from masculinity among the Afghan Pashtun to services offered for the disabled, and from Taliban extremism to the role of TV in the Afghan culture wars. Prioritizing the perspective and experiences of the people of Afghanistan, the contributors offer new insights into the lives of those who are hoping to build a secure future on the rubble of a violent past.

Editor M Nazif Shahrani is Professor of Anthropology, Central Eurasian Studies, and Near Eastern Languages and Culture at Indiana University. He is author of The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War and editor (with Robert L. Canfield) of Revolutions and Rebellions in Afghanistan: Anthropological Perspectives.


Introduction: The Impact of Four Decades of War and Violence on Afghan Society and Political Cul-ture / M. Nazif Shahrani

Part I: Technologies of Power—Competing Discourses on National Identity, Statehood, and State Sta-bility

1. Afghanistan: A Turbulent State in Transition / Amin Saikal
2. Afghanistan’s “Traditional” Islam in Transition: The Deep Roots of Taliban Extremism / Bashir Ahmad Ansari
3. Language, Poetry, and Identity in Afghanistan: Poetic Texts, Changing Contexts / Mohammad Omar Sharifi
4. Lineages of the Urban State: Locating Continuity and Change in Post-2001 Kabul / Khalid Homayun Nadiri and M. Farshid Alemi Hakimyar
5. Webs and Spiders: Four Decades of Violence, Intervention, and Statehood in Afghanistan (1978–2016) / Timor Sharan
6. Merchant-Warlords: Changing Forms of Leadership in Afghanistan’s Unstable Political Econ-omy / Noah Coburn
7. Borders, Access to Strategic Resources, and Challenges to State Stability / Ahmad Shayeq Qassem
8. Brought to You by Foreigners, Warlords, and Local Activists: TV and the Afghan Culture Wars / Wazhmah Osman

Part II: Personal and Collective Identities, Gender Relations, and the Trust Deficit

9. “The War Destroyed Our Society”: Masculinity, Violence, and Shifting Cultural Idioms among Afghan Pashtuns / Andrea Chiovenda
10. Engendering the Taliban / Sonia Ahsan
11. Anticipating Discontinuous Change: Afghanistan in Retrospect and Prospect / Robert L. Can-field and Fahim Masoud

Part III: Adapting to a New Political Ecology of Uncertainties at the Margins

12. Badakhshanis since the Saur Revolution: Struggle, Triumph, Hope, and Uncertainty / M. Nazif Shahrani
13. Hazara Civil Society Activists and Local, National, and International Political Institutions / Melissa Kerr Chiovenda
14. Adapting to Three Decades of Uncertainty: The Flexibility of Social Institutions among Baloch Groups in Afghanistan / Just Boedeker
15. Party Institutionalization Meets Women’s Empowerment? Acquiring Power and Influence in Afghanistan / Anna Larson

Part IV: Violence, Social Services Delivery, and the Rising Trust Deficit

16. Childbirth and Social Change in Afghanistan / Kylea Laina Liese
17. Signatures of Distrust in Contemporary Afghanistan: More Than a Decade of Development Effort for Vulnerable Groups: The Case of Disability / Parul Bakhshi and Jean-Francois Trani



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