This piece of research work grows out of almost two decadesof scholarly interest in, as well as a personal fascination with, theland and people of Afghanistan. My experience as an officer in theAfghan Refugee Commissionarate (Peshawar), an acquaintancewith almost all intellectual / literary figures of Afghanistan andclose links with other people both inside and outside Afghanistan,have all been of great help in completing this work.I am extremely grateful to the selection committee of the SocialScience Research Council (South Asia Regional FellowshipProgram) for selecting me as fellow for the year 2003. I am alsoobliged and grateful to Ittay Abraham, Program Director; MaliniSur; and others for organizing South Asia Regional Fellow’sWorkshop in Negombo, Sri Lanka (December 17-19, 2003). I personally gained much from the workshop and the chance for interaction with scholars in various fields, and this new experiencehelped me in reviewing this project.I am highly indebted to Dr. Parvez Khan Toru, Director Pakistan Study Centre, University of Peshawar for granting methree months leave for my research project. I am also thankful toDr. Azmat Hayat Khan, Director Area Study Centre (Central Asia,China, Russia & Afghanistan), University of Peshawar (Pakistan),who has been kind enough to accept my request for affiliation asfellow in his institution, and who provided me all availablefacilities in the Centre. I wish to record my sincere appreciationand thanks to Dr. Sarfraz Khan of Area Study Centre for hisguidance, criticism and expert suggestions.