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Lecture 9

GS302 Lecture 9: GS302 Lesson 9 Afghanistan and Sri Lanka

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Global Studies
John Abraham

GS302 Lesson 9: Afghanistan and Sri Lanka Afghanistan Ancient History  Emerges from the British Empire in 1919  Ancient history ties to Indus Valley, Mauryan, Kushan, Mughal  Diverse cultural heritage: Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Islamic  Ethnicities: Pashtun (major Afghan group), Uzbek, Tajik, Hazari o Peoples are mostly eastern Iranian ethnicity  Culturally diverse area  Area of tremendous significance – part of the subcontinent which acts as one of the corridors past the Hindu Kush mountains into the plain of the subcontinent o Significant for the history of the region  Strategically for the modern period a region of importance for Britain, Russian, American empires throughout history  Central for the history of the area  Beginnings of an idea of a larger regional Afghanistan begin to take shape following the demise of the Mughal Empire o That has its own independent identity apart from the rest of the subcontinent Mohammad Shah  Successor to Aranzeib  Marathas are emerging power in the subcontinent  City of Delhi in Mughal court is still important center culturally and politically (even though as a military power it has significantly declined)  Court is also extremely rich  Attracts attention of one of the other major empires of this time in Persia: Safavid Empire Safavid Emperor Nadir Shah (1693-1747)  Defeat of Mughal emperor Mohammad Shah (1739) Ahmad Shah Durrani (1722-72)  Interested in the wealth of the city of Delhi o Invades the city and loots it for a significant amount of money o Defeats Mughal emperor o I.e. peacock throne of the Mughal emperors – Nadir Shah loots it during this invasion along with other riches (i.e. Queen’s diamond, the largest diamond in the world that’s now in the Queen’s crown and sceptre in England) o Gives a sense of how important this looting/invasion was for Shah  After this invasion, he doesn’t collect taxes from his subjects for the next few years  He passes away, so one of his governors/generals starts to consolidate and bring together all the various clans of the region into a unified whole o Sense of cohesion between the clans and groups in the area into a political entity  By this time, Nadir Shah is dead, and Marathas are becoming more prominent in the region  Third Battle of Panipat (1761): Marathas try to make a play to extend their territory into Afghanistan o Durrani repels them and deals them a terrible defeat o It’s because of this defeat that some historians say that the Maratha Empire enters into a period of decline o This decline leads the British to become dominant/prominent in South Asia The ‘Great Game’  British become a significant player in South Asia  South Asia increasingly becomes an extremely important part of the imperial economy of the British Empire (source of raw materials)  British are very keen to make sure that their position in India is secure  They are concerned at this time that the influence of the Russian Empire moving down is showing interest in South Asia o British and Russians have already fought another war in Crimea in Ukraine o Brits are concerned about another potential war further south in South Asia  Negotiations of the ‘Great Game’ o Strategic negotiations between these two empires o Afghanistan would act as a ‘buffer zone’ o Point at which Russians wouldn’t seek to expand their influence further, and the British would hold the borders of their empire at the Afghan border o Truce between two empires Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839-42; 1879-80; 1919)  Partly in consolidation of this that the British fight Anglo-Afghan Wars in the region o Some at a very heavy price (especially the first one) to British troops o Managed to make an agreement with the rulers of the Afghan state/emirate o Not challenge British influence in the area o Last of the wars enables Afghanistan to achieve independence from British Empire in 1919  First state in South Asia to achieve independence Ahmanullah Khan (1892-1960)  First king of modern Afghan state  Interesting figure  Keen on instituting a process of modernization  Sets Afghanistan on a path over the next thirty years – Afghanistan becomes quite a progressive part of South Asia  Innovative policy: o Changing the traditional role of women – first people to challenge this traditional role and encourage education for women o Stop the existing practice of child marriages o Providing universal franchise City centered cosmopolitan middle class  Russian, English, French, and German influence  European powers are still interested in this part of the world  Educational partnerships: various regional powers help to establish universities and other institutions in the area  Major cities become progressive cosmopolitan centers  Rural population is largely unaffected by all of this – significant as the history of the country progresses further Monarchy and Saur Revolution (1978) Mohammad Zahir Shah (r. 1933-73)  Succeeds the king  Deposed by one of his cousins who then declares himself the president of a new Afghan state People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA, 1965)  Middle class Afghans who are now educated by the European institutions, high schools, universities  Mobilize politically and form political parties, one of which is PDPA  Socialist political party  Institutes revolution in 1978: Czar Revolution o Brings to the monarchy/presidentship of the relative of Shah to a conclusion: association of Afghanistan with socialist politics and the influence of the Russians (Soviet Union at this time) o Long-term strategic game between European powers and Russia: following Czar Revolution, Russians have an avenue to exert significant influence in the area  Encounters a lot of resistance in the rural areas o Socialism, modernity, bureaucracy, etc. are very foreign to the rural population there o Conflict with various factions and clans in the rural parts of the country  Appeals to the Soviet Union for assistance o Soviet army invades the country in an attempt to “stabilize” the situation (1979) o Next 10 years Afghanistan is engaged in continuous process of civil war o Devastating civil war on many levels… Soviet Invasion (1979)  6.2 million refugees (Iran, Pakistan); 4 million returned (according to UNHCR)  Middle class flight o Try to engage in process of rebuilding the country o During this period, unfortunately, a lot of the professional class (educated, formed political parties, filled the positions in bureaucracy, etc.) have fled the country o Most of them are not in the process of returning – brain vacuum  Lack of stability gives rise to post-1989 continuing situation of instability  Various clans and factions (some ethnic) engage in conflict/civil war with one another  It’s said that having finished their strategic game, both the US and Russia pull out of the region and are uninterested in being involved in the region anymore o Any form of aid/assistance that the region previously had is therefore gone Taliban Rule Jamiat Ulema-E-Islam  Among refugee populations in Pakistan and Iran, governments are doing everything that they can to help these refugees o Mobilizing heavily to maintain some semblance of order for these people  In one area of Pakistan, political party Jamiat Ulema-E-Islam begins to take an interest in running programs for these refugee populations  Conservative political party in Pakistan, still there today  At the time of the Muslim League negotiations with international Congress and division of subcontinent  Somewhat marginal player, align with All-India Muslim League  Origins are from a conservative school of Islamic theology that comes out of northern India  Involved in various social programs among refugee populations in Pakistan  Pakistan intelligence agencies are also involved in helping to train some of these people to go back so they can engage in conflict in Afghanistan more successfully  All countries in the region (Iran, India, Pakistan) have a stake in the stability of Afghanistan, and are all playing a role in stoking the conflict in the area  From this group that you have the early formation of a new organization that begins among refugee populations of Afghanis in Pakistan: Taliban Taliban  Educated by this political organization  Students of the conservative political and religious theological ideology  Because this
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