Dr. Amin Tarzi's Publications


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 "The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan"

By Robert D. Crews & Amin Tarzi (eds), (Harvard University Press, 2008).

The Taliban remain one of the most elusive forces in modern history. A ragtag collection of clerics and madrasa students, this obscure movement emerged out of the rubble of the Cold War to shock the world with their draconian Islamic order. The Taliban refused to surrender their vision even when confronted by the United States after September 11, 2001. Reinventing themselves as part of a broad insurgency that destabilized Afghanistan, they pledged to drive out the Americans, NATO, and their allies and restore their "Islamic Emirate." 

The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan explores the paradox at the center of this challenging phenomenon: how has a seemingly anachronistic band of religious zealots managed to retain a tenacious foothold in the struggle for Afghanistan's future? Grounding their analysis in a deep understanding of the country's past, leading scholars of Afghan history, politics, society, and culture show how the Taliban was less an attempt to revive a medieval theocracy than a dynamic, complex, and adaptive force rooted in the history of Afghanistan and shaped by modern international politics. Shunning journalistic accounts of its conspiratorial origins, the essays investigate broader questions relating to the character of the Taliban, its evolution over time, and its capacity to affect the future of the region. 

Offering an invaluable guide to "what went wrong" with the American reconstruction project in Afghanistan, this book accounts for the persistence of a powerful and enigmatic movement while simultaneously mapping Afghanistan's enduring political crisis. 

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 "The Iranian Puzzle Piece: Understanding Iran in the Global Context"
Amin Tarzi (ed.), (Marine Corps University Press, 2009).

To read the full publication, click here: East Studies Documents/IranianPuzzle_Text.pdf
 "A Pawn in Iran's Nuclear Ambitions?" August 09, 2007 Edition 31 Volume 5.

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 "The Key to Success in the Global War on Terror" April 02, 2009 Edition 13 Volume 7.

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 "The Politics of Mass Media"
By Amin Tarzi: in J. Alexander Their (ed.), The Future of Afghanistan, (United States Institute of Peace, 2009), p 45-54). 

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 "Recalibrating the Afghan Reconciliation Program"
By Amin Tarzi in: PRISM No. 1 Vol. 4, Journal of the Center for Complex Operations, (National Defense University Press, September 2010), p 67-78.

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 "Iran Has a Chip on Every Number"

The New York Times, What Does Iran's Cash Buy in Afghanistan?, Room for Debate, 25 October 2010.

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 "Measuring Perceptions about the Pashtun People"
By Amin Tarzi & Robert D. Lamb (Center For Strategic and International Studies, 2011).
Afghanistan and Pakistan are sites of intense conflict—and intense international interest. Because the epicenter of the Afghan war is along Afghanistan’s southern and eastern border with Pakistan, and because important combatants use Pakistan’s tribal areas for sanctuary, there is correspondingly intense interest in better understanding the people who live in this border region. The dominant ethnic group there is the Pashtuns, who have experienced a long series of wars and other major disruptions since the 1970s. What little academic research has been undertaken about Pashtuns during this period is sorely outdated. Knowledge about Pashtuns affects policies and strategies in the region—including counterinsurgency—so it is important not only to study Pashtuns but also to study what is believed about them. 
This report documents the results of a study about beliefs about the Pashtun people. The purpose was to identify the range of perceptions or misperceptions about Pashtun communities by cataloging “stereotypes” about Pashtuns held by English-speaking policymakers, experts, and other opinion leaders. The authors interviewed 52 officials and experts in the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and analyzed 138 articles drawn from recent academic and popular sources. Pashtuns were most commonly characterized as proud, victimized, sectarian, tribal, and hospitable; they were not stereotyped as warlike, misogynous, illiterate, conservative, or medieval. Pashtun diversity was generally acknowledged, as were the changes Pashtuns have experienced in recent decades. Some saw Pashtuns as natural allies of the Taliban, while others considered them more opportunistic, which suggests there are competing schools of thought about counterinsurgency in the region (i.e., population-centric versus enemy-centric strategies). The report concludes by noting the absence of broad, deep, and, most importantly, current knowledge about the Pashtuns. Having such knowledge would be a good in itself, but would also help policymakers and strategists avoid having to make untested assumptions about how important populations might respond to different activities—whether military or political.
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 "Political Struggles over the Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands"
By Amin Tarzi in: Shahzad Bashir and Robert D. Crews (ed.), Under the Drones: Modern Lives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Borderlands, (Harvard University Press, 2012), p 17-29.

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 "Historical Lessons on Rebuilding Afghanistan’s Judicial System"
By Amin Tarzi in: Wolfgang Danspeckgruber (ed.), Petersberg Papers on Afghanistan and the Region, Liechtenstein Colloquium Report Volume IV, The Trustees of Princeton University, (Princeton, 2009), p 53-61.

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Marine Corps University