Afghanistan and Central Asia in the New Great Game

Shams-Ud-Din and Bhaswati Sarkar, Lancer's Books, 2003, 193 p, ISBN : 817095097X, $24.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Afghanistan and Central Asia in the New Great Game/Shams-Ud-Din and Bhaswati Sarkar

Contents: Preface. 1. Afghanistan – social and political background. 2. Red flag over Kabul. 3. The aftermath. 4. Strategic significance of Afghanistan in the new great game. 5. External powers and the Afghan quagmire. 6. The United Nations’ special mission in Afghanistan. 7. Pursuit of infinite justice. Annexures. Index. 

"Afghanistan’s geographical location and political instability has made it an easy pawn in power game. However, the country despite its fragile economy and political weakness has not proved to be very malleable. The Soviet occupation was met with grit and determination albeit sustained by funding from Saudis and American power. As a result, millions of Afghans perished, were disabled and rendered homeless. Besides, it led to complete economic collapse and environmental degradation. This book traces the continuing importance of Afghanistan since the days of Cold War politics till date. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of five independent Central Asian states with reasonably large reserves of oil and natural gas, Afghanistan once again finds itself drawn in juggernaut of the great game. The urgent requirement for giant oil companies and their patron states is peace in Afghanistan. This led to America’s open and subtle flirtation with the Taliban in mid 90s. Taliban’s inability to establish its writ through-out Afghanistan and their growing intimacy with Osama Bin Laden estranged them from the Americans. The present US sponsored peace initiative has yet to acquire support beyond Kabul and a fairer image in the neighbouring regions, particularly among the Islamic countries. The current US policies in the region are viewed with increasing concern." (jacket)

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