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Taliban by Ahmed Rashid

Taliban
By Ahmed Rashid
Published by Yale University Press, (2001)

 

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This non-fiction book is wrote by an author, a Pakistani journalist familiar with South Central Asia, with long-term experience with Afghanistan.  He explores the history of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and the implications of the Taliban coming to power in terms of the surrounding nations and in the international arena.  In his analysis he delves into subjects such as oil, drugs, gender roles, Islam, conflict, warlords, the "Great Game", and culture.

The timeframe of this book is from the start of the Taliban movement in 1994 to just before the invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and the fall of the Taliban.

The book is well organized with appendices that include  notes, bibliography, structure of the Taliban, chronological timeline of the Taliban, and index.

Having read the book (a few times) I think the authors' depiction of the role of western oil companies in the politics of Afghanistan and the tying of United States policies to the oil companies desires is overstated.  I read the book before my first trip to Afghanistan (all expenses paid courtesy of Uncle Sam), passed the book on to someone else, then bought the book again and read it a second time, and then just recently read it a third time.  If you are a student of Afghanistan or are going there for work then it is worth reading.