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AfghanistanA Cultural and Political History$
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Thomas Barfield

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145686

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145686.001.0001

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Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century: State and Society in Conflict

Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century: State and Society in Conflict

(p.164) Chapter Four Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century: State and Society in Conflict

Thomas Barfield

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes the fate of Afghan rulers and their regimes in the twentieth century. Some were more successful than others, but one thing they had in common was unexpected ends to their reigns. Every Afghan leader during this period was either assassinated while in power or driven into exile. While these events may seem unduly complex on first encounter, they can be broken down into three distinctive periods: 1901–29, 1929–78, and 1978–2001. Throughout this period there were a number of recurring conflicts. The most volatile was the issue of social change and its direction. Often described as a rural/urban or religious/secular divide, in reality the division was more complex since positions differed depending on the issue involved.

Keywords:   Afghan rulers, twentieth century, recurring conflicts, social change, political order, foreign powers

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