Canfield, a sociocultural anthropologist, spent nine years in Afghanistan. His research focuses on Islamic movements in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and other Central Asian countries. He supports the U.S. war in Afghanistan, but was highly critical of the Bush administration regarding the war in Iraq. Canfield, who has studied Islamic identity issues in Central Asia since the early 1980s, says it's important that people understand that much of Afghanistan is itself in opposition to the activities of both Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Canfield teaches a course on Greater Central Asia: History, Culture and Politics, which focuses on contemporary issues in the ex-Soviet republics of Central Asia and Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but it also includes extensive reading on the social history of the region, in order to enable understanding of the social dynamics at work in the region. In 1990, he was a consultant for the Agency for International Development - Representative to Afghanistan, in Pakistan, to develop a strategy for encouraging democratic institutions among the Afghanistan peoples.
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