By Angelo Rasanayagam
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Extra resources for Afghanistan: A Modern History
A loosely organized political association called the Movement of Enlightened Youth also made its appearance during this period. Middle-class in origin and liberal in spirit, its manifesto called for the eradication of anachronistic customs and ideas, the grant of legal rights to women, the accountability of the government to parliament, the eradication of official corruption, the formation of political parties, economic develop. inent, and so on. Such demands, it must be said, gave voice to a small minority of educated and reform-minded Afghans in urban areas, but found no resonance in the unlettered general population, subject to the traditional influences of lnalik and mullah, responsive only to the local concerns of their particular qawm, and utterly impervious to the secular issues that lay behind these demands.
In August 1940 Afghanistan, which had been admitted to the League of Nations in 1934, formally reaffirmed its neutrality. In October 1941 the British and the Soviets demanded the expulsion from Afghan soil of all citizens of the three Axis countries. A similar joint ultimatum to the Iranians, who had been slow to respond, had resulted in the invasion and partial occupation of Iran by British and Soviet forces in August 1941, and the forced abdication of Reza Shah who was replaced by his young son.
16 AFGHANISTAN: A MODERN HISTORY practitioner of the 'forward policy' used the occasion to extract further concessions before recognizing him as amir. With blatant effrontery Curzon replied that the treaty that the British had previously signed was a personal document, and that a new treaty had to be considered. In doing this he was flouting a basic principle of interilatioilal law that the British, when it suited their purpose, had always insisted on: that treaties were between states, and not between rulers.
Afghanistan: A Modern History by Angelo Rasanayagam