Taliban and Ahmed Rashid

I’m still drafting a long-read piece that involves the current Afghan situation as topical from a misogyny perspective in my Good Fences metaphor (all will hopefully become clear). Anyway, so topical that it concerns much online media traffic at the moment, even though I’ve not blogged anything specific.

With Rory Stewart being so prominent amongst voices of more subtle reason, I’ve re-watched his 2 part history of Afghanistan, and was reminded that I’d read Ahmed Rashid’s “Taliban when travelling shortly after 9/11.  (That’s the 2001 2nd edition updated with a new post-9/11 introduction to a book that was originally published less than a year before!) Well I’m re-reading it and it really is excellent.

Given his journalistic profession and his specialist Afghan experience and expertise, I’m slightly baffled why Rashid is not visible amongst the current media traffic?

So far the abiding impression is that “colonialism” was never limited to British, French and Russian machinations. All Afghan neighbours and the Afghans themselves had their own long periods of monarchy and republic, empire and dominion in “the great game” of resources and power.

[Aside, but not unconnected, mentioned a couple of times that professional US soldiering in Iraq and Afghanistan had benefitted from T. E. Lawrence “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” – even if POTUS Biden hadn’t. One of Lawrence early topics is understanding exactly who do we mean when using a simple label like “Arab” … or Pashtun or Taliban or … . Nationality, ethnicity and tribal identity are slippery subjects. I’m also re-reading Eugene Rogan’s “The Arabs – A History”. A trove of information if less analytical on psychology and motivation.]

3 thoughts on “Taliban and Ahmed Rashid”

  1. Just a stray lateral thought on your last two posts: Afghanistan has historically proven to be a problem for projections of power. Arguably, the age of information technology has vastly improved the ability to project power. Yet the U.S. project in Afghanistan still failed. Was the faith in our new technological abilities overrated? Was it perhaps sidelined by the usual human failings?

  2. Brilliant to make that connection – if you’ve read the most recent update of my Bogdanov post?
    (It’s why I’m working hard to write a definitive version of my “Good Fences” essay.)

    That common “human failing” in our ability to organise power, knowledge and resources, is our collective addiction to some kind of scientific objective materialism – an orthodox “scientism”.

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