Today, most Westerners still see the war in Afghanistan as a
contest between democracy and Islamist fanaticism. That war is real, but it
sits atop an older struggle between Kabul and the countryside, between order
and chaos, between a modernist impulse to join the world and the pull of an
older Afghanistan—a tribal universe of village republics permeated by Islam.
Now, Tamim Ansary draws on his Afghan background, Muslim
roots, and Western and Afghan sources to explain history from the inside out
and illuminate the long, internal struggle that the outside world has never
fully understood. It is the story of a nation struggling to take form, a nation
undermined by its own demons while, every forty to sixty years, a great power
crashes in and disrupts whatever progress has been made. Told in
conversational, storytelling style and focusing on key events and
personalities, Games without Rules provides revelatory insight
into a country at the center of political debate.
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