This book covers the taliban issue from three angles: 1 - the origins of the taliban which is about the end of the soviet afghan war, the CIA and pakistani ISI backing the mujahideen, and the initial pakistani ISI backing of the Taliban. 2 - The taliban's understanding of Islam, this part covers the connections with the Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan and the Wahabi/salafi movement in Saudi Arabia. 3 - finally it covers the Colonialists(US and Russia) game for control over the region so that perhaps a pipeline for oil can be built to transport oil from the central asian republics to Pakistan, Turkey or Iran. In this part it gives detailed analysis on the interests and activities of Taliban and the Foreign governments e.g. How Unocal lobbied the US government to recognise Taliban and how Russia funded the opposition factions so that fighting would continue and the interested oil companies would leave. Ahmed Rashid's book has produced a detailed picture of the reality that unfortunately spells out the extent of the devastation in the region which has resulted from the failure of the Taliban, Pakistan and others. Furthermore he exposes the Taliban's tribal nature which contradicts Islam and their political naivety which has landed them in the quagmire that is present day Afghanistan. However, I don't agree with the current thought that only the US can solve afghanistan's problem. Rather this for the muslims to resolve, after all the US has spectacularly messed up in this region already due to her ever changing interests. If the muslims adopt the correct thought and method from Islam without getting muddled in tribal or other issues it very possible for them to resolve this and other issues that they face today.