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Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

  • ISBN13: 9780300089028
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
Correspondent Ahmed Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban—the world’s most extreme and radical Islamic organization—into sharp focus in this enormously insightful book. He offers the only authoritative account of the Taliban available to English-language readers, explaining the Taliban’s rise to power, its impact on Afghanistan and the region, its role in oil and gas company decisions, and the effects of changing American attitudes toward the Taliban. He also describes the new face of Islamic fundamentalism and explains why Afghanistan has become the world center for international Review
This is the single best book available on the Taliban, the fundamentalist Islamic regime in Afghanistan responsible for harboring the terrorist Osama bin Laden. Ahmed 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

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia


  1. This fellow is an arm chair quack. He grew up in Pakistan, but that’s all about it. Now he makes his living saying cocophony about Pakistan and that region of the world on US TV networks. And with so many networks looking to fill up their airtime, he is having no trouble making this living. He has no clue of what the conditions are on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Says that Musharraf could have ‘nipped the evil in the bud’ if he had acted sooner in Swat. If Musharraf had done that, then Mr Rashid would have accused Musharraf of being trigger happy. So if you can see, Mr. Rashid is just a monday morning quarter back. All he is doing is second guessing whatever Musharraf does. And in a couple of months he’ll be doing the same with the new govt. in Pakistan, because that’s what the US TV networks want him to say.

    Why would you pay to read baloney from such a quack?
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. This book just talk of the taliban from a western point of view, which is already well-known. It does not talk of how the takiban appeals to the Afghan psyche and how the Taliban were welcomed in several towns they arrived in. It only talks of harsh Sharia’, which Afghans have lived under for hundreds of years. It also does talk of the Mazar-e-Sharif massacre, which i feel didnt get enough attention.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  3. Here we have a fascinating subject made dull by bad writing and the Yale Press distaste for copyediting. As with Tim Judah’s “The Serbs,” a clumsy, academic style overwhelms the text, turning recent history into routine textbook mush. Shame. Like a mediocre grad student, Ahmed Rashid depends on rote listing of names and dates as a means of conveying expertise. Bad move. Anyone with access to Google and a word processor can cut-&-paste the facts. Taking this approach also assumes that readers have an encyclopedic knowledge of Afghanistan. Another mistake. You’ll have to excuse my ignorance and audacity, but credible reporters fill in the blanks with more than minute details about the career trajectory of a particular tribe’s onetime third-in-command and eventual exile. Detail upon detail is hurled at the reader in this manner without regard for context or relevance to later events. This is painful reading. Do not be fooled by the good reviews. The author needs to go back to school and learn that he inclusion of every imaginable detail does not indicate solid journalism or scholarship, but overcompensation or a small mind’s thirst for tenure. Let me make myself absolutely clear-this book represents the worst of historical scholarship and journalism. The author subordinates the reporting of actual events to tedious listing of defunct military cells and which of their members belong to the Taliban. Lengthy quotes from Taliban members reiterating this narrative are employed, AP style, demonstrating the author’s wholesale lack of genuine technique yet solid grasp of journalistic padding. Some chapters read like a gossip sheet for terrorists–a Taliban Enquirer, if you will. Feel free to skip around this book as you would any bloated article in The Economist. You can sniff out the relevant information and feel satisfied that only a sucker would suffer through the rest. On a final note, over 100 other people have reviewed this book and most are enthusiastic. My guess is in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 readers wanted info about the Taliban from a more thorough and knowledgeable source than CNN or Fox News. Now that the scare is over, you can restore your critical faculties and call this book what it is.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  4. I found this book very hard to read, partly because of the writing and partly because of the book’s design. The writing wasn’t organized enough to get a clear, linear sense of how all the conflict developed in the first place. (I do realize, though, that the Middle East has such a chaotic history that trying to organize it all and clearly trace different developments is a huge undertaking.) The visual design of the pages also didn’t lend itself to easy reading because the inside margins (i.e., the ones near the spine) were so small that I had to hold the book way, way open to read the words near the spine. Plus, there was too little white space between the lines of text. I know, I must sound like a picky visual person who isn’t a serious reader; the thing is, I actually read a lot, and most of the books I read are current affairs books. This book is just so difficult to get through that despite its sound factual content, it does not relate the history in an easily absorbed format.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  5. yes a good book but it left out some of the most recent horrible actions by the taliban like the b-heading of teachers in the country. Of course the good thing is that this research is well founded and the documentation of the rise of the Taliban and their scope not just in Afghanistan, but the entire world is very good. So far I would have to say this is one of the better books on these ding bat goof ball chickens who hide behind babies and still think it is all in the name of Ah La. Barbaric ruling is brought to a whole new light and it makes me feel great I live where I do, can you imagine having your eyes gouged out because you pick what shows you watch for television?
    Rating: 3 / 5


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