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The Afghan Jihad and how it found its Way to the West
on March 27, 2005
Still today, although slightly less, the crucial importance of Bosnia for Al-Qaida's Jihad in and against the West is underestimated. How was it possible that the holy warriors, after having fought for many years in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, were able to establish save havens in Bosnia and spread terrorist cells throughout Europe, Canada and the United States?
This book offers a detailed approach to the genesis of Al-Qaida (above all in Europe) and enumerates a number of components that enabled it to spread globally. Starting with the holy war in Afghanistan and its infrastructure and fighters, the focus gradually moves to Bosnia (its Civil War) and, later on, to a global scale.
The book features various illustrations, extensive coverage of many individual destinies of the "mujahideen", references to a great variety of sources and is written in a very appealing way. Furthermore, it sheds light on the doubtful rôle of Alija Izetbegovic, on flawed Western intelligence, on the consequences of the hesitant intervention of the International Community, on the crucial impact of so-called Islamic "Charities" and finally offers lessons of the "Afghano-Bosniaks".
At the beginning, you might have to get used to the particular fashion of the book, however, after a few pages you will enjoy a very good read. To conclude, a few pieces of advice in order to get the most out of the book: have a map of Ex-Yugoslavia (especially Bosnia) within reach, write down the most important Arabic expressions you encounter with the corresponding translation and make a list of the most important Arabic names, as some are difficult to remember and prone to confusion.
In the first place, this book has no extensive historical pretensions - therefore, there is no need to enter into the historic details of Bosnia. Still, the more secular approach to Islam of the Bosnians appears clearly in the book (vid. their conflicts with the mujahideen, their different eating/drinking habits, etc.)
Rather, the book is aimed at showing how it was possible for Al-Qaeda to set its feet on European soil and to develop further activities, using Bosnia as a (temporal) safe haven.
The book is simply focused on exactly that phenomenon and does not have to deal neither with Christian fundamentalism nor the atrocities committed by the regular and irregular Serb armed forces during the civil war (which I am sure are denounced by Mr. Kohlmann). There is plenty of books which provide a more general perspective on this war, however, that is not the point Mr. Kohlmann wanted to make writing his book.