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on 1 October 2013
I was slightly apprehensive before committing to this book. Will it be any good or will it be yet another clueless, pointless narration of platitudes normally coming out of Pakistani journalists? Maybe this book is only famous because of the mysterious death of its author, allegedly at the hands of the notorious ISI?

I needn't have worried, because as soon as I read the introduction to the book it became blatantly obvious that deceased Saleem Shahzad was very intimate with the workings of Al-Qaida and it's Pakistani partner organisations. He was the absolute expert in this subject and this book is a glowing tribute to his achievement.

Journalists like him should have been feated not fated and forgotten like usually done in Pakistan. Check out what's on offer in this great Sheherzad like tale of a very dark 1001 nights version.

What is the strategy of Al-Qaida against the great Satan (USA)? What Islamic prophecy are they trying to fulfil? What type of propaganda have they chosen to spread in order to subvert the Islamist and jihadist organisations towards a singular goal? Who have they chosen to lead this verbal offensive in the Pakistani media? Names of Pakistani soldiers, military personal, political and media icons subversively involved in this quest.

By the very first chapter it became crystal clear why he was killed. The names of his prospective enemies are endless. It is also pretty clear to me why his book is seldom mentioned in the Pakistani media as he accuses 80 percent of the existing anchors as on a belonging to the (IJT) Islami Jamiat-e-Taliba, the student wing of Islamist party akin to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. I have personal experience of the Jamaatis from my students days in Engineering University Lahore. They attracted un-charismatic, stunted and incurably shy boys & girls from smaller cities and villages of the country who wanted to make their mark on the university scene with a bang. IJT provided them a complete platform made of Islamic ideology, purpose in life and most of all a set of defined (very unsavoury) values, which they then used to great effect in order to bully every one else into submission. It's seems only logical that this early taste of power seems to influenced many into politics and media. Wonder why no one else has picked on this very significant development though? Maybe because most for the Pakistanis are in a habit of spending their valuable time listening to these very same media moghuls instead of reading investigative journalists like Saleem Shahzad mainly? And the fact that Saleem Shahzad himself hailed from Europe is a significant fact in the production of this great book. His mostly a-cultural (Pakistani) and lateral nurturing helped
him gather these blatant fault lines across the Pakistani political and media scene. Why for instance has Indian bashing suddenly reduced in Pakistani media and the focus turned more inwards towards personal values lately? Could this be a sign in the shift of Islamist ideology of Pakistan towards a more neo-fundamentalist (Al-Qaida) one for instance? This is pure conjecture at my part but time will tell I guess.

What is the picture of Pakistani Taliban that emerges from Saleem's book?

Al-Qaida builds ideological forts, using opinion as it's ramparts to radicalise a frustrated and disgruntled youth into right action from their deep slumber of vice. They have chosen to specifically revamp the redundant and toothless Islamic movements in Pakistan with their neo-fundamentalist theology with considerable success.

Pakistani operations are small scaled localised engagements designed to operationally maintain it's very transient and volunteer based young army.

The real design is conquest of Khurasan (Afghanistan) followed by Hind (India) in an attempt to enforce The long standing Islamic prophecy. The fact this all area has ready been part of an 'Islamic' empire is of little consequence.

Pakistani army has failed twice to crush the Taliban in the various operations over the years largely due to half hearted tactics and low morale. Maybe the focus should be on opening a new DHA (Defence Housing Society) in order to improve and provide incentive the moral of Pakistani officers?

The various partner organisations cropping up in various terrorist attacks in Pakistan are judged entirely on the success of their specific operations. Each new terrorist faction's plan has to work and its resulting effects significant for the organisation to retain its notoriety, otherwise it melts away and is forgotten. This phenomenon is very modern taken from the pages of any prevailing corporation. Actually when you think about it, its better than most corporations s they are getting almost free enthusiasm, vigour and determination of countless volunteers to carry out its dark fantasies.

The first batch of suicide bombers included a batch of women widows willing to kill themselves to avenge their Jihadi husbands. Islamic form of Sati I guess.

Saleem has presented a fantastic description of the Lal Masjid and Sawat takeover complete with all players, army, Islamists and AlQaida playing their unique roles. Unfortunately, the Pakistan Army has come out as one of the main villains in both these affairs, which definitely should have pissed off a number of army officers and could have resulted in Saleem's death.

I have taken one star away due to repetition in the text. The book could have been completed with better editing.
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on 1 July 2011
it is highly recommended read to get insight into the situation in the war against al qaeda. although the later half of book had little new information not already mentioned in the first half so felt repeatitive but nonethelss would recomment this book.
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on 14 December 2013
The author provided an excellent insight on the ideology of alqaida and their war against western forces and against Pakistan. A must read book to understand how organisations like alqaida use terror to achieve their so called goals.
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on 26 July 2011
I ordered this book, it wasn't delivered on time. I guess it lost its way. So I emailed the seller and they sent me a free replacement copy that too in 2 days. Genuine sellers, making customers satisfied. Hence, I am satisfied!
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