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Pakistan on the Brink: The future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West [Paperback]

Ahmed Rashid
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Feb 2013

Ahmed Rashid, author of Descent Into Chaos and Taliban, charts the latest developments in the dangerous trajectory of one of the world's most strategically important, and volatile, countries - and the effects on its neighbours and us all

'An expert's examination of the volatile region that gives the world's policy-makers their biggest nightmare' Christina Lamb, Sunday Times

What does the future hold for the world's most unstable region? With Bin Laden dead, Pakistan threatened by internal power struggles and the US and Britain beginning withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is no better guide the possibilities - and dangers -than Ahmed Rashid. In his follow-up to Descent into Chaos, he examines the changing casts of characters in this story, the future of the Taliban and international terrorism, and the political manoeuvring both within Pakistan and Afghanistan and among Western allies, offering a way forward for all countries involved.

Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore, who has covered Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia for a variety of publications since 1979. He is the author of five books - the best selling Taliban, Descent into Chaos: The US and the Disaster in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, Jihad and The Resurgence of Central Asia. He writes for the Financial Times, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, , BBC Online and Pakistani publications. Foreign Policy magazine chose him as one of the world's most important 100 Global Thinkers in 2009 and 2010. In 2008 he won Spain's prestigious Casa Asia prize for contributing most about Asia to the Spanish people.The following year he was presented with the prize for best columnist in the Spanish press by King Juan Carlos at a dinner honoring him. In December 2009 he was appointed a member of the board of New York's Committee to Protect Journalists. He has also served on the Board of Advisers for the International Committee of the Red Cross for five years. His books have won numerous prizes. His website is: www.ahmedrashid.com

'This excellent book provides a much-needed update on what has happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan ... Rashid has an eye for the big picture as well as a journalist's nose for detail' Daily Telegraph

'A powerful and pacey primer' Spectator

'A meticulous, reliable and authoritative chronicler ... Unlike many journalists Rashid has the courage to outline how he believes the catastrophic situation in his homeland (Pakistan) and its neighbour, Afghanistan, can be improved' Jason Burke, Observer


Frequently Bought Together

Pakistan on the Brink: The future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West + Descent into Chaos: The world's most unstable region and the threat to global security + Taliban: The Power of Militant Islam in Afghanistan and Beyond
Price For All Three: 24.15

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Feb 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 024196007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241960073
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Pakistan's best and bravest reporter (Christopher Hitchens)

A journalist of the highest narrative and analytic gifts (Max Hastings)

His knowledge of events and people there is second to none (Kim Sengupta)

A superb work on the future of Pakistan, a country many people deem the world's most dangerous (Bruce Riedel Washington Post)

Ahmed Rashid has established a well-earned reputation as a meticulous, reliable and authoritative chronicler of events in south-west and central Asia ... Unlike many journalists ... Rashid does have the courage to outline how he believes the catastrophic situation in both his homeland (Pakistan) and its neighbour, Afghanistan, can be improved (Jason Burke Guardian)

Rashid assembles a broad network of sources on all sides of the debate and is probing in his treatment of all the main actors ... a powerful and pacey primer (Shiraz Maher Spectator)

About the Author

Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore, who has covered Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia for a variety of publications since 1979. He is the author of five books - the best selling Taliban, Descent into Chaos: The US and the Disaster in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, Jihad and The Resurgence of Central Asia. He writes for the Financial Times, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, , BBC Online and Pakistani publications. Foreign Policy magazine chose him as one of the world's most important 100 Global Thinkers in 2009 and 2010. In 2008 he won Spain's prestigious Casa Asia prize for contributing most about Asia to the Spanish people.The following year he was presented with the prize for best columnist in the Spanish press by King Juan Carlos at a dinner honoring him. In December 2009 he was appointed a member of the board of New York's Committee to Protect Journalists. He has also served on the Board of Advisers for the International Committee of the Red Cross for five years. His books have won numerous prizes. His website is: www.ahmedrashid.com

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many cooks to spoil the broth! 11 Mar 2012
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The focus of Rashid's earlier books, "Taliban" (2000; revised edition 2010) and "Descent into Chaos" (2008) - see my reviews on Amazon - was Afghanistan. It was made clear in both books that the ISI, Pakistan's all-powerful intelligence service, had allowed the Afghan Taliban safe havens in Pakistan to which it could retreat after it was ousted in 2001, where it could regroup, and from where it could stage its increasingly successful comeback from 2003 onwards.

Despite its title, Pakistan is a very uncertain focus of this third part of the trilogy - uncertain only in part because, just as it is impossible to discuss Afghanistan without extensive excursions into the history of Pakistan, the reverse is equally true. At least a third of the book is more of a continuation of Rashid's earlier books on Afghanistan than it is an analysis of what is wrong with Pakistan.

It continues and extends the catalogue of US ineptitude that we saw in "Descent into Chaos". The Obama administration has handled Afghanistan as incompetently as the Bush administrations had done. The Washington turf battles over policy were worse than ever, and although sound policy papers were produced, they were not acted upon. Obama seems as much captive to US military thinking as Zardari is to that of the Pakistani military. In 2009 Obama announced surges at the same time as he signalled a specific date by which a draw-down of American troops would begin - encouraging the Taliban to hold out against the surge with the confidence that soon the field would be clear for them. There was a build-up of the Afghan Army and police, who were supposed to take over when the Americans left, but the desertion rate was staggering. American relations with Karzai are as tense as those with Pakistan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Written in haste because time is short? 13 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback
Ahmed Rashid is a leading Pakistani journalist and commentator. This book forms a coda or update to his 2009 book Descent into Chaos - and deals with events in Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent years. The prognosis is dire - the situation shocking - and people in Islamabad, Kabul and Washington D.C. are living in denial. Rashid offers counsel, restoratives and future hope - but the track record is bleak. Power brokers invite Rashid's advice which they then ignore. The spiral continues ever downward. On the Brink is a short book - perhaps because there is little new or hopeful to say, the style of writing more colloquial - more journalese perhaps than Descent, more urgent. Rashid has been ill recently - perhaps he may himself be on borrowed time? He appears to feel the same about Pakistan unless urgent measures are taken. Three books:- Bennett Jones' Eye of the Storm, and Rashid's Chaos (highly recommended as a study in depth) and his latest Brink tell us of Pakistan in recent years. Recommended. Count your blessings as you read them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interested in Pakistan? 1 Mar 2014
By J. Wood
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in Pakistan's recent history and its future, read this book. You will probably feel depressed after your read - although perhaps you feel like this about Pakistan already. You might develop your own ideas about the best way the country could move forward, as I did.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pakistan's inability to build a civil society. 29 July 2012
Format:Hardcover
In this useful book, the author says about Pakistan, "For too long the military and political parties have neglected their one single task, which is to make life better for their people".

The author is a journalist based in Lahore (Pakistan) with a deep knowledge of the complex relationships between local power sources such as the ISI (Inter Services Agency - Pakistan military), Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistani), the Americans (political and military), the Afghan government and tribes and India.

The picture that emerges, is of tremendously abused populations in Pakistan and Afghanistan that would be delighted to see an end to their corrupt and self serving governments together with the Islamic fundamentalist terror groups that inhabit the region.

Rashid shows that in common with other residents of the middle east they look with longing at Turkey, as he says, "Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan age fifty-seven, is a new hero for the Arab and Muslim world, taking on Muslim dictatorships like Syria, defending the Palestinians, tilting against Israel, yet firmly wedded to the West and the United States through NATO and other alliances; it is even up for membership in the twenty seven nation European Union."

After reading this book one can see that the only chance of getting from "here to there" would be a an unlikely Pakistan/Afghan "Arab Spring" , so for the forseeable future one would sadly expect Pakistanis to continue to emigrate from their disfunctional society.
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