Əsas səhifə Pacific Affairs Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964-81.by Anthony Hyman

Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964-81.by Anthony Hyman

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Pacific Affairs
January, 1983
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Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964-81. by Anthony Hyman
Review by: Milan Hauner
Pacific Affairs, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Autumn, 1983), pp. 579-580
Published by: Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2758240 .
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Book Reviews
situation as having an overall positive effect on Pushtun-Pakistani
relations,and, as a consequence, he predictsless interestand agitation
withinthe North-WestFrontier Province for an autonomous or independent Pukhtunistan.
These observationsare not only controversial,but also significant,
because they represent the perceptions of a regional scholar whose
opinions can sway the Pakistani political stance on the Afghan issue.
Ahmed's recommendationsforthe Muslim world coincide withthose of
the author of the volume: thatthe Afghan resistancemustbe aided with
everythingbut troops; that such aid is a primaryresponsibilityof the
Muslim world; that Islamic ideological grounding is essential to the
resistance; and finallythat, in a period when the Soviet Union has
launched an expansionist foreignpolicy,unityof the Muslim world to
help not only Afghans but the Palestinians and the Iranians (in their
contestwitha superpower) is mandatory.
Harvar; d University,


Hyman.New York:St. Martin'sPress.1982. xi, 223 pp. US$20.00.
THIS IS a highlyrecommendablebook about a subjectof indisputable topical importance. Anthony Hyman, a young London-based
Britishjournalist and specialiston Islam, has been known to the public
for some time throughhis illuminatingarticles(e.g., AsianAffairs,
on Censorship)and BBC talks, based on first-handknowledge from
several trips to Afghanistanand the refugee camps in the North-West
Frontier Province of Pakistan. He is also very active in a number of
organizations helping the Afghan refugees, whose numbers have exceeded three million.
In the firstquarter of his book, Hyman surveysbrieflybut competentlyAfghanistan'ssociety,economy,recent history,foreignrelations,
and the country'sdiverse multi-ethniccomposition.His main narrative
begins with the year 1964, which witnessed the beginning of a shortlived experimentwitha temperedconstitutionalmonarchy,allowingthe
Western-educated elite of Kabul to enjoy the democratic game of
elections,opposition, and free press. Hyman certainlydoes not imply
that it was in that same year of 1964 that Soviet domination was
imposed-as one mightwronglyconclude fromthe title.Massive Soviet
aid, both civilianand military,can be traced back to the mid-1950s-or,
if one ignores the interruptions,even as far back as the early 1920s,
when the radical King Amanullah firstinvited Soviet experts to his
The author,however,is less concerned withsystematically
investigating the growing Soviet control over Afghanistanthan with examining
domestic developments. Here, in the tragic failure of the modest
democraticexperimentlastingonly eightyears,lay the immediatecause
of the forthcomingtroubles. From among several pretenders,it was


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Pacific Affairs
Prince Daoud who, in July 1973, succeeded in overthrowingthe monarchy represented by Zahir Shah, his own cousin and brother-in-law.
Daoud was welcomed by both leftistsand liberals as the lesser evil
compared withthe notoriouslychaotic and weak constitutionalcabinets.
Daoud's dictatorship did not, however, stabilize the system; it only
helped to precipitate the political crisis. It was the crypto-Marxist
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), with its two rival
factions,Khalq and Parcham,which proved to be the most determined
opponent of Daoud. Thus, on 27 April 1978, the "childrenof history,"
as Hyman succinctlycalls them, set out on their colossal task to
transformone of the most conservativeIslamic societiesinto a communistparadise. The Afghan population at large rejected these ambitions
of a few thousand college studentsand theirteachers who formed the
majorityof the PDPA. Obviously,the Khalqis,who soon turned against
the Parchamis,were not only pursuing the communistideal but wanted
to assume positions of power and influence hithertooccupied by the
traditionalelite. In this,theyquicklysucceeded throughtheirbrutaland
ruthless methods. Their hasty social reforms were opposed firstby
spontaneous then by more organized armed resistance.Had the Soviet
Union not invaded in 1979, it mighthave lost Afghanistanas a Sovietcontrolledbuffer,at the verytimethatneighbouringIran was undergoing convulsivechanges under the green flag of the Prophet.
Hyman is deeply pessimisticin his conclusions.He sees no chance of
the present Moscow-backed regime improvingits standing through a
compromise settlement,either with the resistance forces or foreignexiled politiciansof the old regime.The prospect,he writes,is "anarchy,
chaos and destruction,forwhichSoviet policies are largelyresponsible."
of Wisconsin,
Madison, U.S.A.


Perceptions and Perspectives
fromSoutheast Asia. EditedbyColinMacAndrews
and Chia Lin Sien.
Athens,Ohio: Ohio University
Press. 1982. xiv, 370 pp. US$19.95,
0.95, paper.
written for this volume, though seemingly
heterogeneousin approach and specificfocus,achieve unitythroughthe
broader issues raised concerning the effectsof government-promoted
modernization in Southeast Asia. These concerns are mainly social,
cultural, and ecological; but they are also ultimatelyand inescapably
political. The ideology of accelerated modernization has increasingly
come into question in recent years, and these studies provide further
cause for pause and reconsideration.
An introductoryoverview by Chia and MacAndrews, in regional
perspective,highlightsthe "dichotomybetween what is assumed to be
the achievementof development policies and what in facttakes place."
Lack of coordination among agencies and levels of government,ignorance or unconcernfornegativefallout,and disdain or antipathytoward


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