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John Griffiths delves into the history, culture, social fabric, internal politics and economy of this intriguing and backward country. He reveals a nation living in the shadow of perpetual conflict: from the early incursions: Persian, Greek, Hun Mongol, through the Russian invasion and subsequent withdrawal, to the rise of the Taliban and the resulting international crisis - which sees the world poised on the brink of war with all fingers pointing towards Afghanistan. Set against Afghanistan's deep-rooted religious, ethnic and social divisions and the more recent bitter civil war that has left as many as 2 million Afghans dead and over 6 million homeless, Griffiths examines the current political situation, in particular the role of the Taliban - who now control approximately 90 percent of the country - under their fanatical and reclusive leader. He analyses their stance on minority groups, the importance of Islam, the place of women in Taliban society, their views on education and their support for the Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. He also discusses the difficulties that the West will face when attempting to impose law and order on a country which has as it's core a collection of diverse, independent, proud and anarchistic peoples and stresses the importance of creating stability in what is becoming an vitally important strategic and political flashpoint. Afghanistan: A History of Conflict provides an up-to-date, insightful and informative account of a country trapped between the middle ages and the twentieth-first century.

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