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Darwin Books SLAEI Series




From Holy War to Civil War


by Olivier Roy



About the Book:

    Afghanistan: From Holy War to Civil War assesses the impact of the Afghan mujahidin movement as a case study of the success and limits of the Islamic political framework. The Afghan mujahidin movement is portrayed in all its specificity and in the broader context of its links to world Islamic fundamentalism.

    Olivier Roy combines intimate knowledge gained from extensive field experience in the country with an analysis of the international political context of the mujahidin movement and its ideology. This is a brilliant work, with a sobering conclusion: Although the mujahidin succeeded in forcing the Soviet Army out of their country, they have not managed to establish a "new society." Instead, "traditional Afghan society has returned with its ethnic and tribal divisions, but also with its concept of power centered around clientele and personal alliances." Afghanistan is still at war--with itself. A minefield for international ideological movements, the country is engulfed in an internal game of power and manages to elude any international alignment based on ideology alone.


About the Author:

    Olivier Roy is a research scholar and political scientist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. A specialist on Afghanistan and on Muslim Central Asia, he has spent many months with the Afghan mujahidin inside Afghanistan. He is also the author of previous works related to this subject, among them The Failure of Political Islam (1994).


    Analytical and thought out with great emphasis on social and political structures. . . . mature and sophisticated contributions to the political scholarship of Afghanistan.

—Middle East Journal


Roy locates the main source of failure of the Afghan Islamic movement in its ideas, and in particular its inability to think about politics in institutional rather than ethical terms. . . . Roy is one of the most acute, even brilliant, observers of Islamic politics today, and here again he showers the reader with insights often expressed in those little apercus in which Lycée students are encouraged to express their philosophical ideas.

—International Journal of Middle East Studies


Publication date: 1995

Size: 6 x 9 (15.2 x 22.9 cm); 142 pages

Maps; color plates; glossary of political parties and religious organizations; bibliography; index

CIP L.C. 94-18404

ISBN 978-0-87850-076-5 $24.95 (Out of stock indefinitely)