As the battle for Afghanistan intensifies, with humanitarian workers increasingly finding themselves on the frontline, aid expert Peter Marsden draws on decades of personal experience in the country to unravel the relationship between great power politics and development, from the Great Game era to the present day. Whilst the US has recently been criticised for blurring the distinctions between military and humanitarian operations, the use of aid to further great power strategic objectives is, Marsden finds, nothing new. Examining the interventions of the British in the 19th Century, the Soviets in 1979, and the US in 2001, he brings to light significant new information on the use of aid in pursuit of strategic objectives. Drawing on his own experience, he explains the changing relationship between the aid community and different Afghan governments, including the Taliban. His rigorously argued conclusions are surprising and make compelling reading matter for military and humanitarian policymakers alike.
"Afghanistan: Aid, Armies and Empires" offers both a coruscating exploration of the relationship between aid and power, and a fresh and original history of Afghanistan through the prism of great power politics.