New book explores the history of the Pashtuns, the ethnic group ‘without a country of their own’


New Delhi: A year after the United States withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, a new book now explores one of the largest ethnic groups inhabiting the region – the Pashtuns. From their history to the rules and customs they follow, the author takes readers through the history of one of the largest ethnic groups in the world “without a country of their own”.

Published by HarperCollins, The Pashtuns: A Contested History by analyst Tilak Devasher will be released September 27 on Softcover, ThePrint’s online site for launching non-fiction books.

Through his book, the author tries to broaden the geopolitical understanding of South Asia, especially the Pashtuns. Using his expertise in security and strategic studies, Devasher explores the shifting power structures in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal last year.

Devasher, who is a member of the National Security Advisory Council, previously served as Special Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of India.

Specializing in security-related issues, particularly relating to India and Pakistan, Devasher has written three other widely acclaimed books – Pakistan: Courting the Abyss (2016), Pakistan: At the Helm (2018) and Pakistan: The Balochistan Conundrum (2019).

“The book (The Pashtuns: A Contested History) considers the Pashtuns inhabiting a single property although divided into two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan – by the artificial Durand line. Their community of ancestry, religion, language , historical memories, cultural and family ties and a common code, Pashtunwali (the way of the Pashtuns), makes it easy to do.This community and unity is best expressed in the Pashtun phrase: Lar O Bar Yaw Afghan, which means that the Afghans of the lowlands, i.e. Pakistan, and the Highlands, i.e. Afghanistan, are one, Devasher said when discussing the book.

“A Unique Glimpse of Afghanistan”

The 500-page book examines the region inhabited by Pashtuns, the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the region. Pashtuns inhabit lands beyond borders and countries. From the Hindu Kush to the Indus, the community straddles Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The book details how in the 1980s Pakistan used Pashtun-dominated areas in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as launching pads against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and also during the “war on terrorism” led by the United States years later.

Swati Chopra, associate editor at HarperCollins India, said Devasher brings a unique insight into Afghanistan.

“Devasher brings his considerable geopolitical expertise to the history of the Pashtuns as he traces their origin, their inevitable clash with colonial powers, Cold War encounters with global superpowers, the terrible price extracted by the War on Terror and their difficult situation to spread. across rough borders.

“Placed, as they are, between the strategic interests of India, Pakistan, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, as well as the United States and China in the region, the book skillfully explores why their present and their future could be as contested as their past,” Chopra said. said.

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