SOAS University of London

Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus

Conference: Rethinking the Swat Pathan

11-12 June 2010

Further information


Now more than ever before there is a need for sophisticated anthropological and historical insights into the identity dynamics of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s diverse communities. This is particularly true of the Pukhtuns, who are almost universally considered by policy-makers and analysts to be the source of Afghanistan’s current problems. Pukhtuns are portrayed as seeking refuge in religious ‘fundamentalism’, most particularly as the Taliban, either as a form of protest against political alienation or as a reflection of their inherently ‘Islamist’ worldview. A more nuanced approach is urgently required to understand the role played by Pukhtun culture and identity in the political dynamics shaping Afghanistan, Pakistan and the wider region. The narrow focus on the Taliban as the most recent incarnation of Pukhtun irredentism has led many to ignore the varied social and economic worlds Pukhtuns historically co-authored with other communities and continue to currently inhabit and actively forge. This conference offers such an approach to a wider public by bringing together a number of experts on the region.

Further Information

Further information about the conference including the programme.


About the Programme

Magnus Marsden, or Ben Hopkins,