A "Net Shift" for Afghanistan
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC
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Some three millennia ago, the Persian philosopher Zoroaster dubbed mountainous Afghanistan the land of the high flags. But there is far more to its identity than the powerful shaping influence of terrain upon its culture there is above all the paradox of the Afghan peoples themselves. Xenophobic from time immemorial, they are nonetheless a mix of Aryans, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, Mongols, and others. Quintessentially isolationist, their country has always been a crossroads of trade and conquest. Indeed, the great city of Kandahar -the true capital of the Taliban- is named after Alexander the Great, who tarried there. And so for all the cool distance conveyed by the notion of the high flags, the deeper story of Afghanistan is one of a mass mixing of peoples and of a crucial hub in the infrastructure of East-West interconnection. In short, it is a land comprised of dense, ancient social and physical networks.
- Government and Political Science
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