In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in support of a Marxist oriented government there, making that nation a major conflict zone in the Cold War. The United States and other Western governments quickly became involved, providing material assistance to the mujahidin, the anti-communist, Islamist guerrilla groups. This eventually resulted in a Soviet withdrawal in the late 1980s, but, far from bringing peace, civil war continued as elements within the mujahidin fought each other. However, with the end of the Cold War, the West lost interest in what was happening there – at least until the attacks of 11 September 2001 thrust Afghanistan dramatically back into their consciousness.
This conference aims to examine the evolution of policy by the English-speaking nations – especially Britain and the U.S. – towards Afghanistan in the period since 1979. Among the topics under consideration:
-Afghanistan’s role in the Cold War: Zbigniew Brzezinski’s views on the subject, the role of Charlie Wilson, and American involvement; the participation of other English-speaking nations; the role of the CIA and MI6, military and diplomatic relations
-American and British relations with post-Soviet Afghanistan, in particular with the Taliban
-War on Terror: the English-speaking nations and Afghanistan since 11 September: armed participation, economic assistance, relations with the Afghan government and with territorial leaders, the drug trade, repercussions on domestic policy
This is by no means an exhaustive list and papers on other subjects will be considered. Essentially we are interested in all major aspects of the English-speaking world’s relations with Afghanistan.
Proposals should be 300 to 500 words and should be sent by 1 March 2011 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The one-day conference will be at the University of Paris VIII on 14 October 2011 and is sponsored by the research group Frontières et politique étrangère dans le monde Anglophone (FRONTS) at Paris VIII. Papers may be either in French or English.
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