This chapter uses a very different frame of analysis from Edwards (1996) Heroes of the Age, challenging us to re-examine our preconceptions about Pashtun history and society in general and the Taliban in particular. Lindisfarne encourages us to look beyond ethnicity, tribalism, and religion in trying to understand developments in southern Afghanistan and FATA. Instead, she argues we should look at issues of socio-economic class and imperialism. Responding to imperial competition over Afghanistan, she suggests that the Afghan Taliban have combined ‘Islamist ideals and class politics’ (p.124) to fight foreign occupation and internal corruption. Similarly in the valley of Swat for example the Pakistani Taliban’s rhetoric had considerable appeal because of the division of society into wealthy landlords and landless tenants, and the movement became a party of the rural poor. Her argument that in order to understand the Taliban we need to go beyond the stereotyped images of Pashtun exceptionalism and Islamic fanaticism is an important one.
Exceptional Pashtuns? : Class Politics, Imperialism and Historiography
28 January 2014
‘EDL angels stand beside their men… not behind them’: the politics of gender and sexuality in an anti-Islam(ist) movement
Political Engagement Meets the Prosperity Gospel: African American Christian Zionism and Black Church Politics
The cultural construction of sympathiser social identities in the Islamic state’s virtual ecosystem: an analysis of the politics of naming
Classifying terrorism: a latent class analysis of primary source socio-political and psychological data