A Tribe Apart – By: Barnett Rubin


Boston Reveiw writes: “With the 20thanniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, this narrativeof Afghanistan is particularly relevant.

Now on the Boston Review website, Barnett Rubin, Director of Studiesand Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation, examines Afghanistan, tracing its recent political history as commentary on itsfuture. The leading American expert on Afghanistan, Rubin weaves intothe Afghaninarrative a personal one, exposing flawed Westernperspectives and inadequate Afghan governance. He explores the deephistorical roots of political mistrust in Afghanistan, and thedifficulties building new institutions, given that profound mistrust.

“Under the more open conditions that have prevailed since the fall ofthe Taliban, I have seen clearly more of what I had only sensed onvisits in previous decades. The human effect of decades of war: howthe collapse of even a relatively weak state authority forced peopleback to their kin, clan, or tribal groups; how violence, which coulderupt at any moment, from any direction, quickly rekindled memories ofearlier traumas. Over the years, with violence and its legacy aconstant presence, the trust that institutional cooperation demandshad been blown to bits as surely as the Buddhas of Bamiyan. …Againstthat corrosive background, every effort to reconnect the scatteredfragments of the former national elites—or to reconnect returningelites with those who had remained—could be undermined with a carelessword, a careless dollar, or a careless bomb.”

The essay can befound at http://bostonreview.net/BR34.1/rubin.php



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