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Misreading Afghanistan’s Crypto-coloniality

Misreading Afghanistan’s Crypto-coloniality

Afghanistan Post-2014: Power Configurations and Evolving Trajectories edited by Rajen Harshé and Dhananjay Tripathi, New Delhi: Routledge, 2016; pp xix+248, 895.

 

Colonial and postcolonial writings on Afghanistan are marked by the absence of a systematic and critical awareness about the country as an offspring and dependency of Western colonialism. The ethnographic, historic, and political realities of Afghanistan provide extensive evidence for the country as a crypto-colony, invisible and disguised, but a real and ongoing colonial space with continuous political and material dependence on Euro–American metropolitan powers. The historic and contemporary political configuration of Afghanistan is a stark representation of crypto-colonialism—a heuristic device rather than a typology—in which

the curious alchemy whereby certain countries, buffer zones between the colonised lands and those as yet untamed, were compelled to acquire their independence at the expense of massive economic dependence, this relationship being articulated in the iconic guise of aggressively national culture fashioned to suit foreign models. Such countries were and are living paradoxes: they are nominally independent, but that independence comes at the price of a sometimes humiliating form of effective dependence. (Herzfeld 2002: 900–01)

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Updated On : 10th Aug, 2018

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