Afghanistan: The Mirage of Peace

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Zed Books, 2004 - Political Science - 237 pages
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With the re-building of the failed Afghan state now at the center of the new international intervention, this book explores how the perceptions of outsiders have been at odds with Afghans' own understandings of their country. It shows how the lack of understanding that characterized past policies remains highly problematical. By continuing to indulge in a superficial, selective portrayal of the country, the international community risks manufacturing a state that does not exist, and policies that will not work.
  

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Afghanistan: the mirage of peace

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In this informative and readable book, the authors, who have had years of experience working in Afghanistan at the grass-roots level, provide bottom-up coverage of the country's myriad political and ... Read full review

Contents

The mirage of peace
1
Illusions of peace
3
Liberation
5
Raising the stakes
7
Bombingin a peace
11
Losing hearts and minds
13
New beginnings?
16
Failure is not an option
21
NGOs wanting it both ways
105
Failing the Afghans
106
The makings of a narco state?
110
Or corrupting the state?
115
Transitional attitudes
123
Agency responses
125
Double standards or caught in a bind?
127
State
135

Identity and society
23
Rooted in Islam
28
Identity and others
30
Civil society?
39
Making decisions being represented
41
War and social change
45
Ethnicity
52
Closing ranks
57
Dreaming a past
59
Ideology and difference
63
Confronting the Taliban
66
The UN and the Strategic Framework for Afghanistan
69
An alien way of looking at the world
74
Could it have been different?
78
The legacy of confrontation
82
One size fits all Afghanistan in the new world order
84
Early courtship
87
Changing attitudes
89
Isolating the Taliban
93
Aid rights and the US project
95
Stitching up a country
98
Human rights
103
A short history
138
The Taliban state
145
Aid and the state
147
The UN and the failed state model
148
The legacy of centralization
153
Bonn and beyond part I the political transition
155
Inauspicious beginnings
157
Imagining a state
158
The political transition
164
Building state failure
170
Enduring security?
174
Bonn and beyond part II the governance transition
180
International failure
197
Letting the Afghans down
207
Concluding thoughts
209
Whos who
217
Parties
221
An Afghan chronology
222
Further reading
224
References
225
Index
230
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About the author (2004)

Chris Johnson worked in Afghanistan from 1996 to April 2004, after which she left to work as Head of Office for UNDP in South Sudan. Jolyon Leslie is an architect who managed UN rehabilitation programmes in Afghanistan betweeen 1989 and 1995. Between 1997 and 2000, he was the UN regional coordinator in Kabul.

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