By Nabi Misdaq
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Extra info for Afghanistan: Political Frailty and External Interference (Routledgecurzon Studies in Middle Eastern History)
Subsequently the intervention and invasion of the Soviet forces (1979) led to a drastic socio-political and economic overhaul in Afghan society. The eventual outcome of the upheavals in the 1880s and 1990s were for strongmen and groups to appear, endeavouring to restore a semblance of normality. Thus, in both these situations, though a century apart, those at the forefront of the struggle were committed to bringing the whole country under one strong central rule by waging bloody wars to achieve this.
Tapper ﬁrst clariﬁes the ‘notoriously vague’ term ‘tribe’ which like ‘race’ has ‘almost ceased to be of analytical or comparative value. The issues are conceptual, terminological and to some extent methodological’. He then asks ‘Are tribes the creation of state? . is it useful to contrast “tribalism” with “feudalism”, or with “state” ’ (1983: 1). ‘Tribal groups’ in both countries are historically regarded as ‘inveterate opponents of the state. They were notorious as makers and breakers of dynasties’ (1983: 2).
Such changes were also taking place in the region and so, even if Afghanistan had wished, it could not have kept its immunity from wider changes outside its borders. For Afghanistan such changes arose at ﬁrst as much as the result of British and Russian imperialism as from the desire to improve its economic and social wellbeing. Thus, in the ﬁrst decades of the nineteenth century when Afghanistan faced the Sikh incursion into Peshawar, the Persian assaults on Herat and the Bukharan Amir’s interference in the north, the Afghan monarchs, with the approval of the tribes, acquired some European military technology to ﬁght these intruders.