Social Scientists Go to War

November 22, 2011 by Adam Day

From the department of  “Interesting Things to Read About Afghanistan” comes this book review from The New York Times that gives a nice overview of three recent works about the political situation inside the country. All three of the books are written from the perspective of a social scientist and attempt to explain the sometimes bizarre ways that power is wielded at the local, regional and national level.

From the article’s fairly cheeky start:

Ten years after the Taliban’s leaders fled their country in apparent defeat, the war in Afghanistan has become what one observer calls “a perpetually escalating stalemate.”

to some of the surprising insights along the way:

And as in the American white-collar workplace, no one was eager to speak strongly on behalf of the idea for fear of losing face if it failed. In Istalif, it often seemed, politics meant convincing people you had power by forestalling any event that might reveal you didn’t.

the article is a definite must-read for anyone interested in understanding the country a little better.

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