Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia Hardcover – 30 Aug 2008
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Ahmed Rashid's Taliban: The story of the Afghan Warlords is the single best book available on the subject of the regime in Afghanistan responsible for harbouring the terrorist Osama bin Laden. Rashid is a Pakistani journalist who has spent most of his career reporting on the region--he has personally met and interviewed many of the Taliban's shadowy leaders. Taliban was written and published before the massacres of September 11, 2001, yet it is essential reading for anyone who hopes to understand the aftermath of that black day. It includes details on how and why the Taliban came to power, the government's oppression of ordinary citizens (especially women), the heroin trade, oil intrigue, and--in a vitally relevant chapter--bin Laden's sinister rise to power. These pages contain stories of mass slaughter, beheadings and the Taliban's crushing war against freedom: Under Mullah Omar, it has banned everything from kite flying to singing and dancing at weddings. Rashid is for the most part an objective reporter, though his rage sometimes (and understandably) comes to the surface: "The Taliban were right, their interpretation of Islam was right, and everything else was wrong and an expression of human weakness and a lack of piety", he notes with sarcasm. He has produced a compelling portrait of modern evil. --John Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
[A] valuable and informative work.Richard Bernstein, New York Times -- Richard Bernstein "New York Times"
"[A] valuable and informative work." -- Richard Bernstein "New York Times"
"[A] valuable and informative work."--Richard Bernstein, "New York"" Times" (on the first edition) --Richard Bernstein "New York Times "
"[Rashid is] Pakistan's best and bravest reporter."--Christopher Hitchens, "Vanity Fair"" "--Christopher Hitchens "Vanity Fair "
"Virtually the only informed work on the men who, since 1994, have ruled almost all of Afghanistan. . . . [An] indispensable book."--;i>Los Angeles Times Book Review "(on the first edition)
--Steve Wasserman "Los Angeles Times Book Review "
"The standard work in English on the Taliban."--;i>New York Review of Books "(on the first edition)
--Christopher de Bellaigue "New York Review of Books "
[A] valuable and informative work. Richard Bernstein, "New York"" Times" (on the first edition)--Richard Bernstein "New York Times ""
Virtually the only informed work on the men who, since 1994, have ruled almost all of Afghanistan. . . . [An] indispensable book. --;i>Los Angeles Times Book Review "(on the first edition)
--Steve Wasserman "Los Angeles Times Book Review ""
[Rashid is] Pakistan s best and bravest reporter. Christopher Hitchens, "Vanity Fair"" "--Christopher Hitchens "Vanity Fair ""
The standard work in English on the Taliban. --;i>New York Review of Books "(on the first edition)
--Christopher de Bellaigue "New York Review of Books "" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I knew not a lot about the Taliban and the complexities of the Afghan power struggle before I read this.. Rashid's explanation of every faction has lifted several veils from my eyes.
I was particularly interested by his discussion of the roles played by the colonial super-powers in trying to get or prevent the oil pipelines crossing Central Asia. The graveyard of the Soviet push to remain a super-power of course, Afghanistan has dealt harshly with every force that has tried to monster it. The great game is still being played out from the Khyber Pass to the Hindu Kush and Rashid's book is an essential reference for the (very) concerned spectator. High marks from this reviewer.
Before reading this book I thought I knew a fair bit about the Afghan issue. I always did consider the issue as one of the main forces to determine the future of the whole of Asia, but this book has given me an insight into realities and possibilities I had no idea of.
It shows how much time and effort the author has put into the region, and how he has a deep love and affection for the ordinary people of the land. As he has a wide understanding and awareness of the whole Afghan problem and all the relating and influencing issues from the strong history of the land to the currant political, strategic and economic motives of the neighbouring and regional countries plus America. I only wish the book was slightly more up to date as I would like to know what effect, if any, the change of govt (the military take over) has had on the Pakistani approach to the issue. Plus the effect of the Sanctions applied on the Taliban (but not the opposition alliance). But I'm sure these topics would be covered in Ahmad Rashid's new book: Taliban : Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia , which came out after I had started reading this one, so I guess I'll be getting that too.
Rashid updated the book in 2010 with an extra chapter examining the history of the Taliban's reorganization after the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, but the bulk of the book remains unchanged. 12 years on, it's still worth reading for its valuable original insights.
One of the book's strengths is its detailed account of Afghan history and (mostly failed) attempts to weld this disparate collection of warring clans into a nation-state, partially successful only under the Durrani monarchy. The various ethnic groups speak different languages, practice different forms of both Shia-ite and Sunni Islam and have different cultures, for example those in and around Herat are historically influenced by Persian culture, those in the north ethnically Turkmen, Uzbeks and Tajiks. Tribal loyalties and traditional justice have always trumped central authority from Kabul or Kandahar, the Taliban's power-base, and when the Pashtun-dominated Taliban finally took Kabul their rule was despised and resisted by the larger part of the population.
The book is divided into three major sections.
The first is a chronological history of the Taliban's emergence during the civil wars following the Soviets' withdrawal in 1989.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ahmed Rashid observed and documented the rise of the Taliban before the rest of the world took much interest. Read morePublished 14 months ago by F Henwood
Without doubt the most intelligent informed and well written account of the Taliban ever written absolutely definitive. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
The boo begins with the author telling you how good the book is and how good he is. After that it's all down hill. Didn't learn anything/ enjoy it/remember muchPublished on 24 May 2014 by paj
If you want to understand the history behind the Taliban then this book is for you.
It takes you back to the warring tribal factions through the Russian invasion and the... Read more
I am working in Afghanistan and wanted to read up on some of the recent history which has shaped the country. Read morePublished on 1 May 2014 by Druim
As an Afghan I fount the book extremely informative and correct.The Author invokes his deep knowledge of the region and People... Read morePublished on 7 April 2014 by EnAhmad
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