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Roshan Noorzai

This study analyzes the post-September 11 Taliban’s discourse, exploring particularly the sujet of the battle of Maiwand (July 27, 1880) in the Taliban’s tarani (pl. of tarana “chant, song”). After providing a brief history of the post-September 11 conflict in Afghanistan, the paper examines Afghanistan’s experience of colonialism in the 19th century by discussing the Anglo-Afghan wars, with a focus on the battle of Maiwand and its importance in the modern history of Afghanistan. This study takes a postcolonial and postmodernist approach to discourse analysis. Using a postmodernist approach, the author tried to understand how the Taliban saw the post-September 11, 2001 conflict, and how they legitimized their actions. This study concludes that the Taliban used Afghanistan’s past experience of colonialism in their discourse. In fact, they refer to the historical events and personalities, those led resistance against colonial powers in the 19th century, for propaganda purposes. In addition, the paper shows that the colonial past is an important factor in the success or failure of interventions and peacekeeping missions, particularly in Afghanistan.

Julian Kreidl

Although our knowledge of Pashto etymology has greatly increased in the last century, most notably due to George Morgenstierne’s “A (New) Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto” (1927, 2nd and improved edition 2003), the origin of many Pashto words remained unknown so far. The present paper discusses eight further Pashto etymologies. Four of these are inherited from Proto-Iranian, two are Indo-Aryan, one is of mixed origin, and one is originally Arabic. Discussing the hail word in Pashto, I also argue for the loan of the Bactrian cognate into Persian.

Ahmad Fazlinejad and Farajollah Ahmadi

The Great Plague, generally known as the Black Death, swept many parts of the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe in the mid-14th century repeatedly for decades and inflicted widespread demographical, social and economic consequences. Contrary to the common attitude of researchers in neglecting the spread of the Black Death in Iran during the 14th century and its relapse periods, findings of this study indicate that the Great Plague, which had numerous victims in Iran, mostly disrupted the country’s commercial relationships with the plague-stricken trade routes and centers. Moreover, due to the tragic consequences caused by the Black Death, Iran lost its position as one of the main routes in the international trade. In this study, based predominantly on historiographical sources in Persian and Arabic, Iran’s position in international trade in the era of Black Death is analyzed.

Shakhban Khapizov

The article focuses on folk beliefs related to the cult of plants and particularly that of the mandrake in the Eastern Caucasus, revealed predominantly in folk magical procedures. The research is based on field materials, including those reflected in relevant publications, as well as on sporadic data found in historical sources.

Editors Iran and the Caucasus

Irina V. Kokushkina and Maria A. Soloshcheva

The “New Silk Road” or “One Belt–One Road” (also “Belt and Road”) is a global project initiated by China, the implementation of which affects various areas of development of many states and regions of the world, including security issues, socio-cultural, political, diplomatic and civilisational aspects.

A total of 173 agreements with 125 states and 29 international organisations have been signed under this initiative. The project is gaining momentum every year and attracts ever more researchers who analyse the economic, political, and cultural sides of the project and the interaction of the different countries and regions with China within the framework of this global enterprise. This article assesses the participation of five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan) in the Chinese project and aims to define the mutual interests of the parties on the basis of economic indicators (i.e., ESI, RCA, TDC, and G-L indexes).

George Moroz and Samira Verhees

This paper evaluates the inter speaker variation in noun class assignment among speakers of the Zilo dialect of Andi (a Nakh-Daghestanian language spoken in the Republic of Daghestan). The nominal lexicon in Andi is divided in three to six classes, depending on the dialect. In dialects with more numerous classes, there are two to three classes for inanimate objects with no obvious semantic distinction between them, while the remaining three classes (male, female, non-human animate) are semantically transparent and predictably refer to either male, female or non-human animate referents respectively. We designed an experiment to test whether the assignment of inanimate noun classes is consistent across speakers in different layers of the lexicon, including native words, older loan words, and more recent borrowings from Russian. As we will show, speakers are fairly consistent in assigning certain noun classes, though some variation occurs in all layers of the lexicon; variation is considerably higher with respect to more recent loanwords and among younger speakers.