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Afghanistan and Pakistan

, 400 pages

2 maps

July 2011



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Afghanistan and Pakistan

Conflict, Extremism, and Resistance to Modernity

This timely study surveys the conflict in Afghanistan from Pakistan’s point of view and analyzes the roots of Pakistan’s ambiguous policy—supporting the United States on one hand and showing empathy for the Afghan Taliban on the other. The author, a former foreign secretary of Pakistan, considers a broad range of events and interweaves his own experiences and perspectives into the larger narrative of the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship.

Beginning with the 1989 departure of Soviet troops—and especially since the 2001 NATO invasion—Riaz Mohammad Khan examines the development of Afghanistan and surveys the interests of external powers both there and in Pakistan. He discusses the rise of extremism and religious militancy in Pakistan and its links with ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan. Ultimately, Khan argues, Pakistan reveals a deep confusion in its public discourse on issues of modernity and the challenges the country faces, an intellectual crisis that Pakistan must address to secure the country’s survival, progress, and constructive role in the region.

Riaz Mohammad Khan served as Pakistan's Foreign Secretary (2005–8) and the country's ambassador to China (2002–5), the European Union and Belgium (1995–98), and Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (1992–95). He is author of Untying the Afghan Knot: Negotiating Soviet Withdrawal and was the Woodrow Wilson Center's Pakistan Scholar in 2009.

"This book offers an insider’s extremely well-informed account of events in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and an insightful perspective on history that is normally not available in academic books. Riaz Mohammad Khan has produced a serious piece of work but one that is also eminently readable."

"The most compelling features of this book are the analysis of Pakistan’s intellectual crisis and of the interests of various regional players in Afghanistan."

"In the entire subcontinent, nothing like this work has been written or 'even attempted', matching the breadth of its sweep and the depth of its analyses."

"Riaz Mohammad Khan is uniquely qualified to provide an insider’s perspective on Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan and the complex interplay between internecine Afghan conflicts and the competing interests of external powers."

"Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand... what has gone wrong here over the last 64 years, and particularly the last 30 some."

"An extremely important memoir-analysis... It is exceptionally important that US policymakers read the book."

"For those with an interest in the view from Pakistan, Riaz Mohammad Khan's insider account will come as a welcome addition... his new book is refreshingly honest about the complex relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan."

"I wish there had been a book of this scope and analytic acumen available when I went to Pakistan for my first assignment there in 1984."

"Khan is the epitome of a voice of reason in the Pakistan foreign policy establishment."

"The author is a voice for reason and moderation and provides both a history of and insights into the development of the present situation."

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