JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 382
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security
Abstract - #300193
Title: Understanding Afghanistan
Author(s): Yasmin H. Said*+
Companies: George Mason University
Address: MS 6A2, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA
Keywords: Social networks ; agent-based models ; cultural landscape

The early history of Afghanistan is written in terms of rival tribal leaders of scattered and ethically diverse populations. The country itself is a barren territory which does not produce enough revenue for a central government to rule it. Thus, a regional tribal form of government naturally developed in order to eke out a subsistence living for the members of the tribes. Modern Afghanistan was created as a buffer state by the British between colonial India and imperial Russia. Afghanistan has only been organized with a central government by virtue of intervention of outside powers; first Britain, later the Soviet Union, and, most recently, Pakistan, who created the Taliban. Without external interventions, the country tends to revert to tribal/patrilineal regional rulers. This talk will discuss the role of the history, the Pashtuns, and the culture of Pashtunwali in shaping modern Afghanistan. This talk is intended to provide the logic underlying the need for a quantitative assessment of social and cultural issues associated with Afghanistan and similar tribal-oriented societies.

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