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The Search for Peace in Afghanistan

The Search for Peace in Afghanistan: From Buffer State to Failed State

Copyright Date: 1995
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    The Search for Peace in Afghanistan
    Book Description:

    Afghanistan's fourteen-year-long civil war erupted in 1978 and ended in the disintegration of a state that was first hyperarmed by the superpowers and then abandoned by them. This book analyzes the part played by international politics in this debacle, discussing how changing patterns of strategic conflict and cooperation have affected international negotiations over Afghanistan from the period of the civil war to the present.Drawing on interviews with officials of the United Nations and of various governments, Barnett Rubin recounts the ultimate failure of the Geneva Accords of 1988 to deal effectively with the Afghans' domestic conflict and to establish U.S.-Soviet cooperation in rebuilding Afghanistan. When the Cold War ended and the USSR disintegrated, Afghanistan lost its strategic significance, notes Rubin. The people of this impoverished land were left to fight over their future with sophisticated weapons and little other outside assistance. Integrating theories of international relations and domestic politics, Rubin analyzes how buffer states and post-colonial states are formed through international cooperation, and how this leads to both specific patterns of state formation and particular problems of regime change.This book, along with Rubin's earlier book,The Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System, provides an integrated view of the interaction among various levels of political organization-from village leaders to the U.N. Secretariat-in one of the century's most violent conflicts.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14605-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. viii-xi)
  4. Map of Afghanistan
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  5. PART ONE From Buffer State to Regional Conflict

    • 1 The Failure of International Conflict Resolution
      (pp. 4-15)

      Along the road from Peshawar to the Afghan city of Jalalabad, the memorials to the British regiments set into the stony face of the mountains must now compete for the traveler’s attention with the gaudy palaces of the heroin traders, new lords of the Khyber. The road enters Afghanistan at the top of the pass, in the shadow of yet higher mountains to the north and south, then meanders east, pitted and shredded by artillery explosions and tank treads that evince a previous historical epoch—the Cold War. Officials at the Afghan border post seem unsure what to do with...

    • 2 The International System, State Formation, and Political Conflict
      (pp. 16-30)

      The state of Afghanistan took shape within its current borders as imperial powers sought to transform a turbulent dynasty into a buffer state. This externally promoted transformation inevitably entailed interactions between international and domestic politics. These arenas became more closely entwined than can easily be accounted for even by theories of interaction between separable domains. States do not arise through domestic processes and then interact through international ones; until a state demarcates its boundaries this distinction cannot exist. Because modern states are partly defined by their boundaries with other states, the formation of a state system logically precedes the formation...

  6. PART TWO Negotiating the Geneva Accords

    • 3 Structures of War and Negotiation: Aftermath of the Soviet Intervention
      (pp. 34-44)

      The Soviet Union’s effort to make Afghanistan a friendly buffer on its southern border required the creation of an effective state apparatus in the country. To carry out this goal, Soviet advisers tried to establish a Sovietized state in Kabul, with an Afghan Communist Party, equivalents of the kgb and the Red Army, a state industrial sector, tractor stations, Communist youth groups, women’s groups, and the whole panoply of Soviet institutions.¹ Soviet power also forced Parcham and Khalq to cooperate, under the domination of the former.

      The United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia used aid to the mujahidin to block...

    • 4 International Conflict and Cooperation: A Game Theoretical Model
      (pp. 45-56)

      The U.N. format for the Geneva negotiations defined a cooperation problem. As defined by Keohane, “intergovernmental cooperation takes place when the policies actually followed by one government are regarded by its partners as facilitating realization of their own objectives, as the result of a process of policy coordination.”¹ This case demanded coordination for mutual benefit of Soviet policies on military presence in Afghanistan and U.S. and Pakistani policies on aid to the mujahidin. In game theory terminology, the agenda implicitly defined troop withdrawal and termination of aid to the resistance as cooperative strategies and their opposites as noncooperative or defecting...

    • 5 Progress and Stalemate: The Geneva Talks and the Soviet Succession Crisis
      (pp. 57-67)

      As the process of negotiation began, the U.N. mediator was virtually the only actor who saw any prospect of success. Under Secretary General Diego Cordovez considered the core of his task to be reconciliation of Dealers who suspected one another of being motivated by an aggressive ideology that precluded compromise. His role was to facilitate the solution to a Prisoners’ Dilemma between sides separated by vast mistrust. All sides had agreed that the solution would be for the troops to withdraw and for aid to the resistance to cease. In a diagram he drew up at the very beginning of...

    • 6 New Thinking and the Geneva Accords
      (pp. 68-92)

      In March 1985, a month before President Reagan signed nsdd 166, which authorized a policy of driving Soviet forces from Afghanistan “by all means available,” Konstantin Chernenko died. Mikhail Gorbachev, who succeeded him as first secretary of the Communist Party and chief of state of the Soviet Union, came to power determined to end the state’s open-ended entanglement in Afghanistan. Reform of the crisis-ridden Soviet system was the top priority for Gorbachev and his close associates. Even as hard-liners in Washington and Islamabad prepared an escalation to weaken the Soviet commitment to the pdpa regime, new leaders in Moscow saw...

  7. PART THREE Afghanistan After the Cold War:: From Regional Conflict to Failed State

    • 7 Cooperation Between the Superpowers
      (pp. 96-111)

      Eighteen months elapsed between the signing of the Geneva Accords and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Both the United States and Pakistan went through leadership transitions during this period, which led to some delay before new policies could be adopted. Both Washington and Islamabad thought that Gorbachev had withdrawn the troops because of a military defeat, so both prepared to carry the war home to Kabul and set up a mujahidin government rather than work out a negotiated transition.

      The departure of Soviet troops, however, by reducing the common threat that had held together the United States, Pakistan, Saudi...

    • 8 Decline of Hegemonic Control
      (pp. 112-124)

      Even as the more cooperative relationship between the superpowers enabled them to reach an agreement, other actors were becoming less compliant to the pressure needed to implement it. The decline in hegemonic control had both international and domestic consequences. The regional powers that had supported the mujahidin no longer shared a common aim of expelling the Soviet troops, and their differences with the United States and with each other led them to pursue divergent strategies. The mujahidin were less dependent than before on outside supplies, for military pressure had lessened. They began to pursue varying individual and group interests, giving...

    • 9 From Conflict Resolution to State Disintegration
      (pp. 125-146)

      Just when the United Nations plan was supposed to go into effect, the dissolution of the Soviet Union transformed the regional and global significance of Afghanistan. The two superpowers had devised this plan as an exercise in hegemonic cooperation under the aegis of the United Nations. The United States and the Soviet Union would ask the Secretary General’s Office, in accord with General Assembly resolutions, to sponsor an interim government; the superpowers would use their influence with the regional states and with their Afghan clients to assure implementation of the plan and promote stability. With the dissolution of the USSR,...

  8. Appendix A. Financing of Government Expenditure, 1952–88
    (pp. 147-149)
  9. Appendix B. Political Actors in Afghanistan, 1973–95
    (pp. 150-156)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 157-174)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 175-182)
  12. Index
    (pp. 183-190)