chapter  1
24 Pages

Afghanistan: Cross-Border NGO Coordination, 1985-93

Foreign adventurism, whether military or humanitarian, was perhaps nowhere more apparent than in Afghanistan in the 1980s. More than any other conflict in the late 20th century, it was initially geopolitical rather than humanitarian considerations that thrust Afghanistan into the public eye and determined, for good or bad, the level of international response. Myth and reality sat happily together, at least for a while. Here was a land of heroes, doggedly resisting the hugely powerful Soviet army in the last days of the Cold War. From this basic assumption all else followed: covert military assistance, the funding of a hugely expensive UN operation in Pakistan, the orchestration of international outrage and the arrival of journalists, individual philanthropists and aid organisations with a zeal rarely matched elsewhere.