Ahmed Rashid is a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and the Daily Telegraph reporting on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.
©2000 Ahmed Rashid; (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks, All Rights Reserved
"Valuable and informative." (The New York Times)
"An excellent political and historical account of the movement's rise to power." (The Nation)
"Indispensable." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
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This was a very good book. I was looking for an explaination to the events that led to the rise of these terrorists. This book was a very good, unbiased account of those events. Like most history, it does not judge, it only explains. It does so in great detail that is sometimes hard to follow, but it is well worth the effort. It also relates the truth of this situation, in no uncertain terms: This is a far more compli
cated issue than it appears. Those countries who we have been led to believe are our allies have a strange conection to this land and its troubles. Very well worth it.
The author has deep roots in central Asia and a long history in working and reporting in Afghanistan. He uses this knowledge to provide a detailed description of the history and the social fabric of Afghanistan as a background for an understanding of the rise to power of the Taliban and the involvement of the surrounding countries as well as the United States and Russia.
This is not a book for those who only want a lurid depiction of the Taliban, but rather for those seeking an in depth understanding of the region and of the competing interests that have led to the current situation. It is fascinating, horrific, and riveting.
At first one might think that the book was written before 9/11, but it was published shortly after, however, it does not deal with Afghanistan as it now exists after 10 years of U.S. armed forces involvement. The book is relevant because it provides the underpinning for understanding the problems facing the country today. The author appears to be as unbiased as a human being can be. As for using the "transportation mafia" being undefined or unspecified, it seemed clear to me that it referred to the criminals transporting heroin, not simply the movement of trade through the country. In short, the book educated and informed me about the social, economic, political, and military history of the civil war.
"Thorough but dreadfully boring"
MUCH less detail. However, I think this book was written exactly for that same reason.
I think, the book had to be like that, but I expected something less complicated. Right, the situation IS complicated, but there was really too many persons, too many fractions, too many land areas and to much of everything to really get hold on the essentials. It is impossible to stay on track with this audiobook where you cannot just flip back a couple of pages to re-read and remember who this or that person was.
I think, this book would do VERY well in its physical form for someone who would like to really study this situation. This will tell you everything. But I, personally, had expected something more broadly targeted and "written for everybody".
Nice an clear speaking.
Boredom and real disappointment.
Detailed, factual, but dry reading.
Only for the seriously interested reader.
This book is very dated, for one thing. The author also exhibits some annoying biases throughout the book, for example repeatedly referring "the transport mafia", which is never really defined, but presumed to be some powerful and shadowy entities who support whichever side will keep the roads open for trade. As I see it, that's just basic economics at work, nothing insidious about it. "Afghanistan" by Stephen Tanner provided better history about the Taliban, and about Afghanistan, without the annoying bias. "Destiny Disrupted" by Tamim Ansary was also more informative and much better written than this book.
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