The History of Afghanistan w/ Tim Nunan
This series features Tim Nunan, lecturer in global history at the Free University of Berlin.
Check out Tim's book, Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan here.
Afghanistan History Reading List
Covers the major players in the formation of modern Afghanistan, its interactions with colonial powers, Afghan nationalism, the country’s role in the Cold War, and a number of other topics leading up to the 1978 coup.
Covers the Soviet Invasion of 1979, the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship, the major players in 1980s Afghanistan politics, ideological influences on the Mujahideen, and other topics leading into the 1990s civil war.
Picks up at the collapse of the Soviet Union, the start of the Afghan Civil War, and goes into particular detail on the Taliban—their ascendance in the mid-90s, ideology, patrons, relationships with foreign powers and the Afghan people, and more.
Explores Bin Laden’s relationship with the country, from his exploits during the Soviet invasion, to his activity with Al-Qaeda throughout the 1990s. They also discuss the evolution of the Afghan opium trade, Taliban attempts at international recognition, the respective lives of Mullah Omar and Mullah Naqib, and more topics leading up to the 9/11 attacks.
Picks up on 9/11/01, covering the US invasion, the Bush administration’s crucial missteps early in the war, the rise of Hamid Karzai and building of a highly centralized government, the advent of the “signature strike”, and how the war shaped regional dynamics through 2005.
Picks up at the end of the Bush administration, examining the continuities and changes in U.S. policy under Obama, U.S. counterinsurgency strategy, Generals McChrystal and Petraeus, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, and general strategic shifts through Obama’s second term.
Begins in 2014, the end of the Karzai era, and discusses the contentious 2014 Afghan presidential election, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, the advent of Islamic State (IS) in Syria and its offshoot Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) in Afghanistan, the growth of the Haqqani Network, and the U.S. strategic shift to aerial warfare.
Starts at the end of the Obama administration, examining the Afghanistan War’s place in the American imagination, why the war was hardly discussed in the 2016 election, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Jalaluddin Haqqani and the Haqqani Network, the push for peace talks, Trump’s influence on the war, and the 2019 Afghanistan presidential election.
Covers the Trump administration’s policy toward Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, the Doha Agreement, the Taliban-Al-Qaeda relationship in the era of the so-called Islamic State (IS), the role of independent contractors in Afghanistan, and the 2021 US withdrawal.
Episode 10 (Pt. 1)
Tim moderates a panel discussion where he, Danny, and Derek are joined by Pashtana Durrani, founder of LEARN Afghan, and Haroun Rahimi, lawyer and visiting professor at Università Bocconi. In this first part of the discussion, Pashtana and Haroun share experiences their respective childhoods in Afghanistan and Iran, their families’ connections to the modern events in Afghanistan, cultural touchstones for them in the eras of the Taliban and Karzai, and more.
Episode 10 (Pt. 2)
Pashtana and Haroun continue to share more personal experiences from Afghanistan during the war, including the media important to them in this time, the nuances of intra-Afghan cultures, life in Herat and Kandahar, the presidency of Ghani, Afghan women’s rights initiatives, and more.