This introductory chapter discusses an anthropological approach to examining political order in Afghanistan. Rather than casting the nation in the context of war and conquerors, this chapter views the Afghans themselves as the main players to understand the country and its political dynamics. It examines the question of how rulers in Afghanistan obtained political legitimacy over the centuries and brought order to the land, particularly through looking at how notions of power and political legitimacy in Afghanistan change over a long period of time. The chapter lays out the groundwork for a more detailed discussion on these concepts by introducing the themes and theoretical framework underpinning the book's overall arguments.
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