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Books of the Week - Saturday, 24th September, 2022

The Pashtuns: A Contested History
by Tilak Devasher 

About the Book
The Pashtuns are perhaps the largest ethnic group in the world without a country of their own. They inhabit a continuous stretch of land from the Hindu Kush to the Indus, across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan used the Pashtun-dominated areas in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as a launching pad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and later during the US-led War on Terror.

In the process FATA was kept in a constitutional and informational black hole. The discontent finally burst in 2018 when the extra-judicial killing of a Pashtun youth led to widespread protests.

This book by veteran analyst Tilak Devasher fulfils a gap in the geopolitical understanding of South Asia, given the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the shifting power equations in the region.

About the Author
Tilak Devasher has taken to writing after he retired from the cabinet secretariat, Government of India, as special secretary in 2014. He is the author of two widely acclaimed books on Pakistan--Pakistan: Courting the Abyss (2016) and Pakistan: At the Helm (2018). During his professional career with the cabinet secretariat, he specialized in security issues pertaining to India's neighbourhood. Post retirement, he has continued to take a keen interest in India's neighbourhood, with special focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has written articles for various national newspapers and magazines and has also appeared on TV shows on leading news channels like India Today, Times Now, CNN News18 and Rajya Sabha TV.Devasher did his schooling from Mayo College, Ajmer, and studied history at St Stephen's College, Delhi, at the undergraduate level and at the University of Delhi at the postgraduate level.He is currently a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and a consultant with the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF).
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