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Larry P. Goodson
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Beginning with the reasons behind Afghanistan's inability to forge a strong state -- its myriad cleavages along ethnic, religious, social, and geographical fault lines -- Goodson then examines the devastating course of the war itself.
He charts its utter destruction of the country, from the deaths of more than 2 million Afghans and the dispersal of some 6 million others as refugees to the complete collapse of its economy, which today has been replaced by mono-agriculture in opium poppies and heroin production. The Taliban, some of whose leaders Goodson interviewed as recently as 1997, now uneasily control roughly 80 percent of the country but themselves show increasing discord along ethnic and political lines. What happens in Afghanistan in the future will continue to affect stability and security in an increasingly important region of the post-Cold War world.
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