Kristian Berg Harpviken and Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh. 2016. A Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity

AuthorGavin Briggs
DOI10.1177/2347797019889282
Published date01 April 2020
Date01 April 2020
Subject MatterBook Reviews
AIA_7(1)_Issue.indb Book Reviews 135
Rizvi, H. A. (2000). Military, state and society in Pakistan. New York, NY: Palgrave
McMillian.
Syeda Sumaya Mehdi
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India
E-mail: Mehdi.sumaya@gmail.com
Kristian Berg Harpviken and Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh. 2016. A Rock
Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity.
London: Hurst and Company. 208 pp. ISBN: 978-1-849-04569-8
DOI: 10.1177/2347797019889282
Afghanistan’s evolving domestic and international situation remains of interest to
a host of regional states, including India, Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia. Kristian
Harpviken and Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh’s A Rock Between Hard Places:
Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity explores how those and other
regional states have positioned themselves towards Afghanistan as well as one
another. Throughout the book, Harpviken and Tadjbakhsh counter the ‘narrative
of victimhood’ surrounding Afghanistan and places the nation at the centre of an
inter-regional context, which is home to several regional powers. For those
transnational threats such as the Islamic State, it is Afghanistan’s relations with
Saudi Arabia and Iran, which will be of significance because ‘the direction these
two take in dealing with the phenomena will be decisive’ (Harpviken & Tadjbakhsh
2016, p.156). The security situation in Afghanistan has continued to worsen since
the end of the United Nations-mandated North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO)/International Security Assistance Force-led military intervention ceased
its combat role at the end of 2014. This was replaced by a much smaller force,
known as ‘Resolute Support Mission’, and a re-commitment was announced at
the NATO Brussels Summit held in July 2018, providing ongoing support to
sustain the mission until the security situation improved.
Away from the purely security-focussed roles and operations of the coalition of
nations, A Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional
Inse...

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