Widely portrayed as the 'success of the war on terror', Afghanistan is now in crisis. Increasingly detached from the people it is meant to serve, and unable to manage the massive amounts of aid that it has sought, the administration in Kabul struggles to govern even the diminishing areas of the country over which it has some sway. Whatever political progress that has been possible now takes place against a backdrop of mounting casualties among innocent Afghan civilians and NATO troops. Many Afghans feel themselves to be trapped, hostage between two forces, both of which claim to be their liberators. Perceived by some to be part of a wider struggle that extends to Iraq and Palestine, NATO's campaign in the south seems 'unwinnable'. Now, more than ever, it is important to understand Afghanistan and examine the recent experience of international engagement, and the myths and half-truths that abound.
Drawing on long experience of living and working in Afghanistan, Chris Johnson and Jolyon Leslie examine what the changes of recent years have meant in terms of Afghans' sense of their own identity and hopes for the future. They argue that lasting peace and stability will only be brought about through a form of engagement that respects the rights of Afghans to determine their own political future, while delivering on the responsibilities that come with military intervention.
Chris Johnson lived in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2004. She first worked for Oxfam, the set up a joint UN/NGO/donor research unit, the Afghanistan research and Evaluation Unit, where she worked until early 2002. She then undertook a wide range of consultancy work for different organisations concerned with the transition. She now works for the United Nations Mission in Sudan. Jolyon Leslie is an architect who has lived and worked in Afghanistan since 1989. He currently manages an urban conservation programme in Kabul and Herat.
Illustrations Abbreviations Glossary Preface to first edition Preface to new edition Foreword - William Maley Map 1. The mirage of peace 2. Identity and society 3. Ideology and difference 4. One size fits all - Afghanistan in the new world order 5. The makings of a narco-state? 6. State 7. Bonn and beyond, part 1: The political transition 8. Bonn and beyond, part 2: The governance transition 9. Concluding Thoughts Who's who Parties An Afghan chronology Further reading References Index