Posts Tagged ‘Ann Marlowe’

Destination: Afghanistan

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Destination: Afghanistan

Unless you are one of those intrepid Japanese who turn up occasionally here as in the remotest of places, chances are that you’re not visiting Afghanistan as a tourist. There hasn’t been much of that since the early ’70s, when shaggy young Westerners made their way through Afghanistan en route to India, smoking hash and buying those bulky embroidered sheepskin coats that still lurk in vintage stores back home.

Today most foreign visitors either have a job to do or are visiting expat friends. And it may feel self-indulgent to travel for pleasure in Afghanistan now — why aren’t you helping the poor or starting a business and working six days a week like the other internationals? (more…)

The Afghan Model

Wednesday, March 19th, 2003

We are preparing to go to war in Iraq under the assumption that making the peace will be harder than winning the conflict. Many commentators have offered more or less sloppy analogies with the situation in Afghanistan, most of which have little value. But if there is anything to apply from one reconstruction effort to another, it is the importance of learning how the society in question is organized and how power has traditionally functioned within it. This is just what we have failed to ascertain in Afghanistan.


By now, Americans are familiar with the standard themes of articles on Afghan politics. We have read arguments for and against strong central government, the ethnic composition of the current government, the role of the “warlords,” and various approaches to reconstruction. We have come to realize that Hamid Karzai has a great deal more power in Kabul than outside. We have, lately, seen a lot of articles lamenting the slow pace of rebuilding, the continued stagnation of the economy, the difficulties with forming a national army and disarming “warlords” and the fact that in material terms little has changed for the better in many Afghans’ lives. (more…)