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Paperback Taliban : Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia Book

ISBN: 0300089023

ISBN13: 9780300089028

Taliban : Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Shrouding themselves and their aims in deepest secrecy, the leaders of the Taliban movement control Afghanistan with an inflexible, crushing fundamentalism. The most extreme and radical of all Islamic organizations, the Taliban inspires fascination, controversy, and especially fear in both the Muslim world and the West. Correspondent Ahmed Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban into sharp focus in this enormously interesting and revealing...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great Basic Understanding of Political and Ethnic Situation

A great BASIC education of the politics and ethnic situation in Afghanistan in the year 2000. It would have saved America many lives and much money if our US president after 9/11 had paid attention to facts and the situation that he was getting us into. 10 years later it raises the difficult, if not impossible, question of: what now? But at least now common sense appears to prevail in the White House. Ahmed Rashid makes an unbiased and cogent evaluation, but no solutions yet!


Mr. Rashid is extremely knowledgeable, and that is reflected in his book which traces the roots, support and the Islamic philosophy of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. In fact, there is an overwhelming amount of information in this book. My problem stems from the confusing amount of leaders and movements that make up this book. It's slow reading. It is, however, a must for the student who yearns to learn about the complex intricacies of Islam and oil, and the influence of the American, Pakistani, Iranian, Russian and the Caspian sea countries on the development of Afghanistan under the Taliban prior to 911.

Ahmed Rashid's "Taliban," reviewed

I cannot review the audio cassette, but I have read the book version, which I recommended highly to my father. Because of macular degeneration, however, it is hard for him to read, so I was happy to find this audio cassette version of the book. I am someone who knows virtually nothing about Central Asia and Afghanistan, and just a slight bit more about the Middle East. I found Rashid to be a superb journalist and writer, with a real ability to communicate the immense difficulties that face the Afghanis at this point. Although the subject matter was chronically sad, the book was excellent.

A Must Read For Understanding The 911 Devastation

Ahmed Rashid spent over 20 years as a reporter in Pakistan/Afghanistan. He has written a 216 page book filled with facts concerning the history, politics and culture of the Taliban, Terroism and American Oil Companies. Mr Rashid reports in a clear and organized style about events between 1978-1999 in this part of the world in the context of the history of the Middle East. His insights and reporting are both surprising and informative. He covers religious and political groups and factions and sects as only someone who has lived in this part of the world could do. It is amazing how he is able to present a straight-forward and intelligble account of so complex a situation. He deals with international intrigue by American Oil Companies, about the treatment of women, about Pakistan's and Saudi Arabia's support of the Taliban. Each and every chapter of this book contains valuable information to anyone interest in understanding how a small, unknown and uneducated group of religious Islamic extremist could assist in the destruction of the WTC on 911 and threathen the financial security of many Western economies. Turn off CNN, put down the Times and sit down to read a book which will provide an important framework for dealing with the problems we face today.

A Fascinating Study

Ahmed Rashid's book "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and the Fundamentalism in Central Asia" is an excellent book for those who would like to understand the Taliban, its background, rise to power as well as US and Pakistan's support of the fundamentalist regime. Published in 2000, it is a very timely book given the tragedy of the World Trade Center plane attacks on September 11th. The main factor contributing to the strength of the book is Rashid's extensive access to Afghanistan and key players who have shaped the policy of the country. He has spent the better portion of the last 21 years in the country and knows it intimately. Although himself Pakistani, he is very critical of his country's role (and that of the the United States)in nurturing the most radical elements in the Afghan opposition that fought the Soviet Union in the 1980's as well as the Taliban. The most important chapter of the book for our purposes today is Chapter 10 which deals with the rise of Osama bin Laden in the context of the Afghan-Soviet war and US/Pakistani support of the opposition. Rashid explains in detail American support for the ISI's involvement in drug trafficking as a means to raise money for the anti-Soviet resistance. He laments the American-Pakistani practice of consistent and unwavering support for the most radical elements in the Afghan opposition, virtually ignoring the more moderate opposition. The result: thousands of radical Muslims, armed and trained by The US and Pakistan, sparking "holy wars" against countries deemed anti-Muslim. As I re-read the book after the terrible attack on the US on September 11th, I couldn't help but be disappointed with the lack of foresight the United States policy-makers had in supporting these radicals. Particular blame, in my view, must be meeted out to Zbigniew Brzezinski, who, in his pathological anti-Soviet and anti-Russian passions, went to great lengths in the 80's to push the US to support the Mujahideen radicals. His misguided policies violently bore their fruits in New York and Washington on September 11th. Rashid also does a great job untangling the web of oil and gas pipelines that lie at the heart of the world's interest in the Central Asian Republics of the former USSR and Afghanistan. The post Cold War American policy of eliminating Russian and Iranian influence in Central Asia has lead to the US Administration to support, without giving formal diplomatic recognition, to the Taliban. The reason for this, Rashid explains, is to circumvent Iranian and Russian territory and lay gas and oil pipelines through Afghanistan and Pakistan for eventual Western consumption. Again Pakistan is a key ally for the US in this venture, along with Turkey. Some of the most interesting parts of the book are the Stone Age social practices of the Taliban, including their horrific treatment of women. In his appendix he lists most of the decrees the Taliban issued regarding these policies. In sum, I hig
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