When it invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the United States sought to do something previous foreign powers had never attempted: to create an Afghani state where none existed. More than a decade on, the new regime in Kabul remains plagued by illegitimacy and ineffectiveness. What happened? As Thomas Barfield shows, the history of previous efforts to build governments in Afghanistan does much to explain the difficulties besetting this newest experiment.
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Thomas Barfield is professor of anthropology at Boston University. His books include The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China, 221 BC to AD 1757; The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan; and Afghanistan: An Atlas of Indigenous Domestic Architecture.
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Thomas Barfield: