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Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0745331010
ISBN-10: 0745331017
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When Syed Saleem Shahzad talks, I listen. He is the most fearless and reliable journalist covering Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that's why his work is read even in the halls of the Pentagon. No journalist passing through Pakistan should miss an opportunity to talk to him and nobody interested in the region, in Al-Qaeda or in the Taliban can afford to ignore his work." --Nir Rosen, author of The Triumph of the Martyrs: A Reporter's Journey Into Occupied Iraq
 
"Syed Saleem Shahzad has long been able to penetrate the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban organisations in a way that no other journalist has. His unique knowledge and contacts make his writing a 'must read' for anyone who wants to understand those movements." --Gareth Porter, historian and author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam
 
"Whether it's insights into the plans and ideologues driving Al-Qaeda, the low-down on militants across the Hindu Kush, the Taliban-led Afghan insurgency or political wheeling and dealing, Syed Saleem Shahzad is always first on the trail. The hallmark of his work is his uncompromising impartiality and unblinking courage to follow a story to its conclusion, no matter the dangers or sacrifices involved." --Tony Allison, editor, Asia Times Online
 
"A path breaking book that enhances considerably our understanding of the complexities of Al-Qaeda. Not only is the author clearly familiar with the personalities that form the top tactical and strategy formulation tier today, but his ability to garner various strands of information due to an impressive field experience in Afghanistan makes it one of the most authentic and thought provoking memoirs that seek to throw light on new terrorist initiatives in the region." -- Hameed Haroon, CEO, The Dawn Media Group, Pakistan

About the Author

Syed Saleem Shahzad (1970-2011) was an investigative reporter who worked as Pakistan Bureau Chief at Asia Times Online. His persistence, courage and reputation allowed him unparalleled access to leaders and fighters in Islamic movements enabling him to secure interviews with figures such as Al-Qaeda commander, Ilyas Kashmiri. He had been both a hostage and a guest of the Taliban, which gave him a unique insight into the organisation's internal structures. He was abducted and killed in Pakistan in May 2011. He left a wife and three children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; 1 edition (May 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745331017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745331010
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Syed Saleem Shahzad (Asia Times Online) published some of the best and most insightful articles on terrorism in the past decade.
He was the first to interview leading commanders of al Qaeda's so-called shadow army, including Siraj Haqqani (leader of the Haqqani network), Ilyas Kashmiri (leader of Brigade 313), Mullah Nazir (South Waziristan), and Qari Ziaur Rahman (Kunar/Nuristan/Bajaur), and countless others.
I have consumed most books published on terrorism in the past decade, but a lot of those books lack insight,
because hardly anybody can venture into the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Syed Saleem Shahzad could.
If anybody knew what is going on in the al Qaeda's capital, it was Syed Saleem Shahzad.
His murder shortly after the publication of this book (possibly by the infamous Pakistani intelligence agency ISI) only confirms that some people were very worried by his reporting.
Anybody interested in terrorism should consider buying this book.
If you have doubts, read some of his many articles at Asia Times Online: [...]
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Format: Paperback
Read this book to find out what is it like to be in Pakistan..to learn about Al Qaida's secret world. Great book to give as a gift. Proceeds from this book will support Shahzad Saleem's widow and three kids.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a veteran of the first war Afghan war against the Soviets, this book confirms my deepest suspicions about Al Qaeda's intentions in South Asia and America's response to those strategies. It is a recent and profoundly important report that the author gave his life for. Sadly, it will probably be ignored by American diplomatic, intelligence and military leaders.

The critical underlying concepts that the book emphasizes are: 1. that the war in Afghanistan is about global Jihad to rid all Muslim countries of "infidels", especially Palestine, and 2. that Al Qaeda is using Afghanistan as a trap for America to squander its resources and become weaker and more isolated globally. The process of weakening America will enable another generation of Jihadis to fight America over Israel in an "end times" battle for the Levant. So far as this writer can tell, the strategy has been working.

The book is an unintended indictment of US military and diplomatic officials who insisted on the "surge" and extensive operations in the flatlands of Helmand province while most of Al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership stayed in the mountains through which the Durand line passes. In going for what was the easier fight, General Petraeus has had only limited success at securing real estate when he is, in fact, fighting a revolutionary idea.

The book wastes little time on American strategic intentions. Instead, it chronicles the victories, defeats, strategies and ideological development of Al Qaeda and the Taliban that the late author likens to a "1001 nights" tale. And what a tale it is! From the dreamy, heady days after the Soviet defeat to only a few months ago, the author traces many threads other than Bin Laden, who, as it turns out, was not that important to Al Qaeda thinking.
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Format: Hardcover
Three days of the release of Inside Al-Qaeda And The Taliban, the author, Syed Saleem Shahzad was kidnapped, tortured and murdered. This book will stand as a monument to a man of exceptional courage and sharp intellect who dared to report the truth.

As an investigative journalist, Shahzad dug deep. He made contact with senior Al-Qaeda members, the Taliban and Pakistani officials. In his book he gives us a clear picture of what is going on inside the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and draws us a map of what to expect in the future.
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Format: Hardcover
A prophetic book.. given the news dated May 31, 2011:

"Pakistan journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad's body has been found in Sarai Alamgir, about 200 kilometres from Islamabad, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported. Shahzad, who was the Pakistan bureau chief of Asia Times Online, had gone missing from Islamabad on Sunday evening. Days before his disappearance, Shahzad had authored an article that alleged links between navy officials and Al Qaeda. The report claims that it has been confirmed that his body has been identified and showed signs of torture. Shahzad's car had been found in Sarai Alamgir and a body had also been discovered nearby. Shahzad is the author of the book Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11, which is to be released this month. Earlier, the journalist community pointed fingers at intelligence agencies, expressing suspicion they might have picked him up because of his critical stance towards the Army."

One can only hope that he did not meet an end as grisly as that of Daniel Pearl.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book and learnt a lot about the subject from it. The author is a terrific investigative journalist and his research on the subject is astounding. I was and am sad that he is no more. He lived an interesting life and his pride in his work shows well in this book.

Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have tactics, strategies and systems that are well explained in this book. Their ideology and actions are fully explored in this book in a detailed manner. The only other writer who does similar work (that I know of) is Steve Coll - and Steve got a Pulitzer for his work. There are critical lessons for the West in this book that hopefully will save us from making history changing mistakes.

I will add that the author was Pakistani and his language has it's own style. Readers should not expect Western writing style will be disappointed.... I think this unique style is what makes this an interesting read.

I wish Western journalists took lessons from this book about what journalism is all about. Perhaps then their garbage, celebrity and money oriented news style will change for the better.
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