Untying the Afghan Knot: Negotiating Soviet Withdrawal
by Riaz M. Khan
Duke University Press, 1991
Paper: 978-0-8223-1155-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8223-7767-2
Library of Congress Classification DS371.2.K48 1991
Dewey Decimal Classification 958.1045

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the Afghanistan crisis began almost immediately after the Soviet Union’s military intervention in that country in December 1979. Untying the Afghan Knot offers the first detailed account of the diplomatic process set in motion by that intervention and culminating in the April 1988 Geneva Accords—a milestone in multilateralism and United Nations (UN) peacemaking.
Riaz M. Khan, a senior Pakistani diplomat, participated actively in all meetings on Afghanistan in the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and in all of the Geneva negotiating rounds (1882–1988). Drawing upon his personal experience, official documents, scholarly literature, and press accounts, he provides a unique insider’s view of these precedent-setting negotiations, which were often shrouded in secrecy and misperceptions.
Khan examines the interests, positions, and behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the major players—Afghan governments and resistance groups, Pakistan, the Soviet Union, the United States, and UN mediators—and assesses the impact of military and political developments inside Afghanistan and elsewhere, including the advent of Mikhail Gorbachev. Khan’s authoritative account of these critical diplomatic initiatives sheds important light on the internal dynamics of the multilateral Afghanistan negotiations.

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