Mr. Ali Seraj, whose family ruled Afghanistan for generations, spoke at The Institute of World Politics on February 23. His talk focused on recent Afghan history, his belief in the importance of the tribes in Afghanistan, and how they fit into solutions to the current quagmire.
Prince Seraj gave the audience a relatively quick rundown of recent Afghan history, from the first of his relatives who assumed the throne – Amir Dost Mohammad – to the present day. He specifically pointed out that the three Anglo-Afghan wars (fought in 1839-1842, 1878-1880, and 1919) were essential to the history of the nation.
The myriad tribes of Afghanistan are, in his opinion, the key to the success of the Afghan nation. In the early 2000s, he advocated that the U.S. simply give the Afghans, who have been fighting for centuries, arms and air support but no on-the-ground help. Alas, that was not to be. He mentioned the jirga, which is a Pashto gathering of tribal elders where all are treated equally, as a way to get the people of Afghanistan involved in deciding on where they want the country to go rather than having America and Europe (again) set the agenda for the future.
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