By Anthony Hyman
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Additional info for Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964–83
This Afghan ambition had been stated unambiguously by Amir Abdur Rahman at the turn of the century: 'If Afghanistan had access to the ocean, there is no doubt that the country would soon grow rich and prosperous ... e. Baluchistan. 9 Kabul's claims refused to recognise either the validity of the Durand line as an international frontier, or the May 1947 46 Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964-81 referendum and tribal jirgas in NWFP as an authentic decision of the Pathans to join the province with the new state of Pakistan.
The new king was Mohammad Zahir Shah, the 19-year-old son of Nadir Shah, who been educated in France. From 1933 to 1953 it was three royal uncles who ruled through Zahir Shah, and not until 1963 that the King became his own master. Through most of this period it remained an axiom of Afghan foreign policy to limit dependence on either of the over-powerful neighbours British India and the USSR. Inclinations towards Germany were increased by the arrival to power of Adolf Hitler in 1933, because in Kabul it was rightly appreciated that the Third Reich con- Afghan Foreign Relations 45 stituted a stronger rival and challenger to both British and Soviet power than the Weimar republic.
In the south-eastern provinces a long-standing trade has gone on in lumber from Pakhtya across to Pakistan. Lapis lazuli, fine marble and other illicitly exported items are traded, although heavy and bulky, with the connivance of Afghan customs officials who get their share of the profits. Corruption is pervasive in the Afghan civil service, from top to bottom of the hierarchy, an accepted lifestyle which has been repeatedly challenged but never suppressed by reforming governments. The reasons for the prevalence of corruption are generally understood to be two interrelated factors: a survival into the present day of traditional patterns of behaviour, in which gifts for favours received are considered entirely natural; and as a direct result of fixing official salaries at levels far below bare subsistence for many state employees.