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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 6 April 2010
As a women's rights activist in Afghanistan who ran underground classes for girls during the Taliban regime and turned the impossible to possible, I recommend you to read this book. It is not because we'd like what Mullah Zaeef has to say, it is because for everyone I think it is needed to understand the true insights and the visions of the Taliban. Although I personally think, he has self-censured himself on many critical issues, but perhaps this book is the first of its kinds to reveal part of the reality of a Taliban member. As a great philosopher said, I do not agree on what you are saying, but I support your right to say it.
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on 25 April 2010
I just finished reading 'My Life With the Taliban'. Not being an expert or specialist on Afghanistan, I was at first unsure whether this book would suit my needs - i.e. to inform and interest and provide an alternative perspective from the endless commentary that the media provides. From the moment Zaeef starts taking us through his childhood experiences in the contexts of rural poverty, social decay and war - the whole setting for the situation we see today became a great deal clearer. Very readable - but far from being in the journalistic style of modern autobiography - 'My life with the Taliban' also reads like the important hisotical document that it undoubtedly is. With the Taliban an unwelcome, but ominously persistent presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I believe in taking the trouble to learn more about the roots and individual characters that helped create the Taliban of 2001 and the Taliban of today.
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on 5 July 2010
As is obvious from the other reviews here (and the title) this is a book from a Taliban insider. A man who was present at the beginning of the movement and who held some serious positions within the government that was in power from 1996 to 2001. This really is a vital book full of very interesting insights into both Zaeef's life and the Taliban's agenda. Credit must go to the two editors, and their translators, as the book is both literate and very readable.

It is worth noting that this is a flawed account, but this does not have any effect on the importance of the book. Zaeef certainly leaves out many important issues that could do with more clarity and, at times, his narrative has the feel of a self-serving biography. However this book is what it is and nothing more. Let's hope that his next book, which is released this autumn, and focuses on the movement and its history in more detail will fill in the gaps.

This book is critical for those interested in starting to understand where the Taliban are coming from politically as well as highlighting much of the folly of the Western intervention in Afghanistan. A must read.
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on 15 September 2010
This is a gripping tale written by an amateur writer. I believe this is what is gripping about it. It is untainted by the decorative and often misleading use of language. It's a narrative about how a poor village boy ended up being the embassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan, and consequently being kidnapped; in defiance to all human and international conventions, and detained in Guantanamo.

The book is a brilliant insight into the psyche of those who fought the Soviets, corruption, and consequently tried to defend their country (which has always been the target of major colonial countries and the playground of greedy neighbors); only to be portrayed as monstrous creatures rising from the middle ages by the biased media machinery; if this statement causes the reader any cognitive dissonance, you ought to read the story of Yvonne Ridley, the award-winning journalist, who had first-hand experience of the Taliban.

Reading the reviews for this book, it is certainly polarizing; to say the least. However, if you follow the author's story line with an open mind and try to rid yourself of any prejudice and pre-conceived ideas, you might find it a fascinating experience; if not a transformational one.
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on 31 August 2011
The book is informative although fails to address specific issues regarding the taliban regime. I would recommend the book as its informative and gives the view of afghanistan over a number of years. However, due to the large number of footnotes in the book it becomes very clunky to read as these footnotes are not already arranged that you can click on them and go automatically to the specific footnotes. instead you must save a bookmark at each location and go back and forward updating the bookmarks to make sure you arrived on the correct page. makes it a very annoying and cumbersome experience reading. if you are looking to buy the book, buy it in paperback format.would be 4/5 stars if the kindle ed was a better format.
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on 13 August 2012
After recently reading Peter Bergen's Manhunt, my curiosity was piqued to understand something more of those people who are constantly presented to us as the 'enemy'. By some accounts I would imagine this book will prove quite a challenging read for most westerners, presenting a different angle on the war in Afgan which we simply don't hear about. On the other hand by the end of the book I'd had enough of the over-emotive fundamental ranting, constant references to god and, what at times seemed like out right hypocrisy. Obviously the conflict in Afgan is a vastly complicated issue - as this book wonderfully presents - however, contrary to the claims and pious accusations of Mr. Zaeef, just couldn't help but think it could have been avoided if the Taliban leadership had took a difference position on the Osama issue. To which you will find very little in this book it must also be said.
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on 2 January 2015
Reading a book from an insider, is exciting. an insider may bend the bar too much to protect himself and his organisation but it is not always the case. Zaeef certainly provides some first hand evidence to answer the questions about origin of Taliban, about the development of a local strategy and mullahs ambitions, into a broader strategy for gaining national power, The conditions led to emergence of mujahedin, in1980s, in Qandahar and the role of religious madrassas and mullahs in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan-Baluchistan , are interesting parts of this book. What was the nature of Taliban state and how it functioned? were mujahedin or Taliban were inevitable phenomena? There are some good evidence in this book to discuss these fundamental issues.
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on 18 November 2011
A commendable book to say the least....Mullah Zaeef provides a simple, pragmatic account of what really happened, without the usual political dance that is often encountered in books of a similar genre......the simplicity of his account projects the sincerity and honesty readers yearn ..... capable of having a profound affect on the open minded , shattering the justifications put forward by the media for a war with no end in sight.......I take my hat off to all those involved in the publication of this book and I eagerly await further publications by the author.
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on 10 May 2010
The author is in a unique position to explain the ins and outs of the Taliban. The story reads easily thanks to high quality notes added by two knowledgeable editors, equally well placed to add an updated dimension by virtue of their time spent living in Kandahar.
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on 5 January 2015
An interesting insight to a member of the Taliban. Good to see them from another angle, away from very western books, though Iwould have liked to understand why they treat women and education the way they do - sadly there was nothing on this.
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