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The Pashtuns: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan

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Most accounts claim that the instability gripping Afghanistan and Pakistan is either rooted in Pashtun history and culture, or finds willing hosts among Pashtun communities on both sides of the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. In The Pashtuns, Abubakar Siddique, a stout-hearted Pashtun himself, sets out to interrogate this claim. He tells a very different story: that the failur Most accounts claim that the instability gripping Afghanistan and Pakistan is either rooted in Pashtun history and culture, or finds willing hosts among Pashtun communities on both sides of the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. In The Pashtuns, Abubakar Siddique, a stout-hearted Pashtun himself, sets out to interrogate this claim. He tells a very different story: that the failure, and unwillingness, of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to absorb the Pashtuns into their state structures and to incorporate them into the economic and political fabric is central to South Asia’s problems, and a critical failure of nation- and state-building in both countries. In a voice that is both engaging and erudite, he makes clear that religious extremism is the product of these critical failures and that responsibility for this lies to a large degree with the elites of both countries. Partly an eye-witness account and partly meticulously researched scholarship, The Pashtuns describes a people whose destiny will, no doubt, shape the future of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and also the rest of the world.


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Most accounts claim that the instability gripping Afghanistan and Pakistan is either rooted in Pashtun history and culture, or finds willing hosts among Pashtun communities on both sides of the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. In The Pashtuns, Abubakar Siddique, a stout-hearted Pashtun himself, sets out to interrogate this claim. He tells a very different story: that the failur Most accounts claim that the instability gripping Afghanistan and Pakistan is either rooted in Pashtun history and culture, or finds willing hosts among Pashtun communities on both sides of the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. In The Pashtuns, Abubakar Siddique, a stout-hearted Pashtun himself, sets out to interrogate this claim. He tells a very different story: that the failure, and unwillingness, of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to absorb the Pashtuns into their state structures and to incorporate them into the economic and political fabric is central to South Asia’s problems, and a critical failure of nation- and state-building in both countries. In a voice that is both engaging and erudite, he makes clear that religious extremism is the product of these critical failures and that responsibility for this lies to a large degree with the elites of both countries. Partly an eye-witness account and partly meticulously researched scholarship, The Pashtuns describes a people whose destiny will, no doubt, shape the future of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and also the rest of the world.

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