By Angelo Rasanayagam
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Extra info for Afghanistan: A Modern History
The Muslim resistance fighters called basmachis ('bandits' in Russian) were eventually defeated, with large groups of Turcomen, Uzbek, Tajik and Kirghiz fighters seeking refuge in northern Afghanistan with their families, thus significantly increasing the numbers of these ethnic groups in the north. Amanullah was sympathetic but powerless in the face of their pleas for help, caught as he was between his grandfather's 'millstones'. O n the domestic front, Amanullah's well-intentioned but unsubtle efforts, aimed at the wholesak transformation of an anachronistic society into a modern and secular state, were unsuccessful, and cost him his throne.
Zabuli himself was a self-made capitalist, a pioneering entrepreneur who had set up an investment bank, later called the Bank-iMelli, which had largely contributed to the beginnings of commercial agriculture (cotton in the Kunduz region) and industrial development in pre-war Afghanistan. Zabuli came to the US with a modest, well-conceived plan, with an integrated approach to economic development. The State Department shunted him off to the US Import-Export Bank, which offered instead to finance new contracts for an American engineering firm that had been commissioned by the Afghan government in 1946 to assist in the planning and iinplementation of a multi-purpose agricultural project in the Helmand Valley.
Its members were drawn from across the whole ethnic, social, political and religious spectrum, iilcluding elected representatives of all non-Pashtun ethnic groups, women, and a solitary Hindu delegate from Kabul. After the formal opening by the king, officially president of the Loya Jirga, Dr Yousuf was elected vice-president to preside over the daily sessions. The rules of procedure were read out and adopted with some amendments by a majority vote. The assembly then got on with its work, to the surprise of observers, in a serious and responsible fashion.
Afghanistan: A Modern History by Angelo Rasanayagam