Review: Rashid’s Taliban

Read in 2001
Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Second Edition
Ahmed Rashid

The original edition, written before the September 11th attacks, this book went from minor work to one of the best selling books in the history of the Yale Press overnight. I bought it, in the Strand, about a mile from ground zero two weeks after the attack.

It’s a strong, if now dated, narrative of the rise of the Taliban from the time of the mujahedeen’s fight against the Soviet Union, up through the alliance with Al-Qaeda through to about 2000, when everything changed.

Looking back, its an interesting historical reading of the Taliban, focused largely on their ability to disrupt the flow of natural gas across asia and not in their role in the world wide terror networks. In 2000 or so when the book was written, concerns were very different from what they would be just a year or so later.

Although dated, still recommended for the history information and interesting historic view of our opinions on the movement.

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