From Mother Jones:
Boston University anthropologist Thomas Barfield has been publishing relentlessly ever since the mid-1970s, when he wandered northern Afghanistan doing doctoral fieldwork. He has since emerged as one of America's foremost experts on the region, focusing on political development, provincial-state relations, and customary law. In 2006, Barfield, now president of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to complete his upcoming book on the changing concepts of political legitimacy in Afghanistan. I caught up with the professor to discuss the P-word—Pakistan—and its role in our current predicament. At the time of our interview, Pakistan's government had not yet signed its agreement with the Taliban that allowed for the imposition of strict Islamic law in six northwestern regions, including Swat.
Mother Jones: To what degree does future Afghan stability depend on reconciliation between India and Pakistan?
Thomas Barfield: The India/Pakistan relationship is probably central. Pakistan has from its inception defined itself in opposition to India, and that makes it difficult. But Kashmir needs to be reconciled. Pakistan could also dissolve: The four provinces have very little holding them together.