In this enormously insightful book, correspondent Ahmed Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban, the world’s most extreme and radical Islamic organization, into sharp focus. He explains 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.
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If We'd Only Listened!
Taliban is definetely an audiobook that demands at least two listens. Its easy to get lost with all the places people and events that are discussed in this work. I almost felt like I needed a detailed map of Central Asia in my hand to grasp what the author was trying to convey.
Is this really Wanda McCaddon? Why does she sound exactly like Nadia May? Anyway, whoever the narrator was she did a fantastic job. She has obviously spent a considerable amount of time learning how to correctly pronounce Arabic and Turkik propper nouns. Her professional and journalistic tone also added much to this presentation. My only complaint was that she tended to brutalize pronunciation of the few Chinese place names mentioned in this book, a very minor flaw.
This book was published in the year before 9/11, so its already quite dated considering everything that's transpired in the Middle East and Central Asia since then. That being said Mr Rashid's warnings about the coming era of international terrorism as a consequence of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan seem almost prophetic. Looking back, if we hadn't been so concerned with keeping Iran and Russia in check at all costs， and had instead taken good care of the people that WON THE COLD WAR FOR US the Taliban probably wouldn't have been able to come to power and Osama Bin Laden and others like him wouldn't have had a haven to run to.
It was really intersting to learn about the humble beginnings of the movement as well has how Taliban doctrine differes from other Islamic sects. The detailed history of Central Asia was also informative. It seems cruelly ironic that a group of Afghans born, raised and imbued with radical Islam in Pakistan, would return to conquer and rule their ancestrial homeland, a place they didn't really understand.
The apendix at the end which included original translations of Taliban decrees was a priceless resource. The original interviews and with players on all sides of the pre-2001 Afghanistan conflict also provided great insight. This is definetely a book with years of field experience behind it and is an excellent tool to understanding area polics even today.