Afghan-American Tamim Ansary on his New Book, “Games Without Rules”

by Peter B. Collins on December 12, 2012

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For an Afghan’s views on the US war in Afghanistan, we talk with Tamim Ansary, author of Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of AfghanistanAnsary is director of the San Francisco Writer’s Workshop, and also wrote Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes.  He was born in a small town north of Kabul, and moved to the US when he was 16.  He offers us insights into the American occupation of Afghanistan from the perspective of Afghans.  For example, while we deplore what we see as corruption, this ancient culture values family and tribal loyalties.  While we see the “Taliban” as our enemy, he describes a “continuum of culture” that includes a wide range of people who are not all enemies.  Our efforts to build roads and infrastructure do not always meld with the values and priorities of local people.  Ansary sees a nation that could be like Switzerland, if conquering outsiders would stop invading.  While Ansary is not extremely political, and doesn’t offer a clear view about when US troops should exit, he offers some important depth to our understanding of Afghanistan and its people.

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