234. Understanding Pashtunwali
The Missing Piece in South Asian History
The Pashtuns are perhaps the largest ethnic group in the world without a country of their own. They inhabit a continuous stretch of land from the Hindu Kush to the Indus, across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan used the Pashtun-dominated areas in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as a launching pad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and later during the US-led War on Terror.
In the process FATA was kept in a constitutional and informational black hole. The discontent finally burst in 2018 when the extra-judicial killing of a Pashtun youth led to widespread protests.
In this episode of BIC Talks, veteran analyst Tilak Devasher speaks to Ambassador PS Raghavan, chairperson of the National Security Advisory Board of India about his book The Pashtuns in an attempt to fill the gap in the geopolitical understanding of South Asia, given the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the shifting power equations in the region. This conversation was part of the Bangalore Literature Festival 2022.
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