Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
by Ahmed Rashid
AVAILABILITY: Usually ships within 2-5 days
Publication Date: 2001
Publisher: Yale U Press
Topics: Democracy: Theory & Practice, Energy, Family / Parenting, History: Local to Global, Militarism, Sexism / Patriarchy, Spirituality & Religion, Third World Peoples, United States
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 and modern day Afghanistan 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 terrorism.
Based on his experiences as a journalist covering the civil war in Afghanistan for twenty years, traveling and living with the Taliban, and interviewing most of the Taliban leaders since their emergence to power in 1994, Rashid offers unparalleled first-hand information. He explains how the growth of Taliban power has already created severe instability in Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and five Central Asian republics. He describes the Taliban's role as a major player in a new "Great Game"- a competition among Western countries and companies to build oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia to Western and Asian markets. The author also discusses the controversial changes in American attitudes toward the Taliban - from early support to recent bombings of Osama Bin Laden's hideaway and other Taliban-protected terrorist bases - and how they have influenced the stability of the region.
Ahmed Rashid is a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and Daily Telegraph reporting on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. He is the author of 'The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?'
Review(s): "How the Afghans and their country were historically turned into an object of power politics by the Persians, the Mongols, the British, the Soviets and the Pakistanis, is the subject of his indispensable book. Rashid also examines how American attitudes changed toward the Taliban, from early support to belated opposition. His chapter, "Global Jihad: The Arab-Afghans and Osama Bin Laden," is especially incisive, detailing how the United States enlisted thousands of foreign Muslim recruits to help end the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan." - Steve Wasserman, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The broader story here is powerful. Mr. Rashid's book is essentially a history of the destruction of one of the more ruggedly enduring Central Asia cultures. It depicts how Afghanistan, which survived the British-Russian Great Game of the 19th century, has been reduced to a fragmented, failed state in a vicious new Great Game at the end of the 20th... One learns...a great deal from Mr. Rashid's book about the nature of local Central Asian politics and the consequences of interference by outside powers... [A] valuable and informative work." - Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
"An excellent political and historical account of the movement's rise to power." - Katha Pollitt, The Nation
"Rashid combines close journalistic field experience with the Taliban and long-term knowledge of Afghanistan in this work of great depth and understanding." - Barnett R. Rubin, author of 'The Fragmentation of Afghanistan' and 'The Search for Peace in Afghanistan'
"This is an impressive analysis of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, of its background and impact on that country, and of the wider regional and geopolitical implications of the Taliban's advent to power. It would be hard to see how anyone could rival the range and detail of this account: this bids well to be the leading book on the subject." - Fred Halliday, Professor of International Relations at LSE, author of 'Revolution and World Politics: The Rise and Fall of the Sixth Great Power'
"[Rashid] covers the origin and rise of the Taliban, its concepts of Islam on questions of gender roles and drugs, and the importance of the country to the development of energy resources in the region... A lucid and thoroughly researched account, it is recommended for academic and most public libraries." - Library Journal
"Rashid ... brings urgency to a conflict in Central Asia of which most Americans and many Europeans are mostly ignorant. He reveals a nation with a rich culture of contradictions and complexities that have never been fathomed by its numerous conquerors." - Booklist
"Rashid marshals the vast amount of information he has accumulated over decades of covering the area into a long, sad story and tells it with finesse. His book is a gripping account of one of the horror stories of post-Cold War politics." - Jonathan Groner, Salon.com
"Rashid's densely detailed reportage portrays a country in ruins and the people who seek to control it... Anyone contemplating new adventures in Afghanistan - whether to save its women from persecution, rescue the state from further fragmentation or save themselves from terrorist backlash - might first consult Rashid's book." - Paula R. Newberg, San Francisco Chronicle
"An excellent study by a journalist who has covered Afghanistan for over 20 years, knows all the important Afghan leaders and reads widely from scholarly works and the media... Rashid illuminates the struggle for control of Afghanistan by great and lesser powers - not just the United States, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran but also Afghanistan's newly independent Central Asian neighbors - and demonstrates how little they have to show for their efforts." - L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs
"Rashid provides an incredible history of the Taliban and Afghanistan... His book is enjoyable, highly informative, and provides information and insight into a culture that will impact us all." - Jewish Herald Voice
"[A] supremely insightful book about Afghanistan's Taliban regime... Rashid bases his account on detailed reporting and travel throughout Afghanistan and interviews with most of the Taliban's elusive top leadership. As a narrative, it is gripping... Rashid's book is superbly reported, a window into a world that remains largely closed to American eyes." - Shankar Vedantam, Philadelphia Inquirer