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Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Rashid] literally wrote the book on the Taliban and now has added a superb work on the future of Pakistan."
The Washington Post

"Insightful . . . Readers will welcome this insider’s lucid, expert account of a disaster in the making." — Kirkus Reviews

"Pakistan on the Brink is a page turner. Through Ahmed Rashid's eloquent, incisive, objective, and fact-based descriptions of events and blunders repeatedly committed by the Afghan, Pakistani, and American establishments, the reader gets a great understanding of the genesis of the quagmire for which President Obama has coined the phrase AfPak." — Louisville Courier-Journal

Praise for Descent into Chaos

"Powerful." — Wolf Blitzer



"A clear-headed, sobering look at a country whose ties with the U.S. are becoming ever more frayed." — Publishers Weekly

“Rashid, a Pakistani journalist, is that most valuable of political analysts: both insider and outsider to the problems he studies. His book should be read by anyone pondering how America might stop widening Osama bin Laden’s pool of bomb-clad volunteers.” — Chicago Tribune



“Rashid’s book should be required reading for both presidential candidates, and anyone who wants to understand the jihadi problem.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Ahmed Rashid's latest work provides essential insights for anyone who hopes to understand what's going on in Central Asia and the alternative futures that stretch out before it."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A clear-headed, sobering look at a country whose ties with the U.S. are becoming ever more frayed." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)



“Excellent…Nobody tells the story of Musharaff’s duplicity better than Rashid.” — Time



“Ahmed Rashid has over the decades turned out to be something of a prophet in the region…[and] his fourth book [is] a caustic compendium of the mistakes by the Bush administration and, by extension, its regional allies, in tackling Islamic militancy.” — International Herald Tribune --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

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No Bio --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Library edition (March 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455865052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455865055
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,868,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. R. Santhanakrishnan on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ahmed Rashid, rebel (who organized uprisings against Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan governments) turned journalist (20 years with Daily Telegraph out of Lahore), provides a balanced analysis of the end game scenario in the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan imbroglio. You dont need to have read his previous masterpieces (Taliban and Descent into Chaos). You can read any chapter at random. I had to read the entire book in one go. Quite an engaging analysis.

United States is in a logjam. US has to exit Afghanistan soon. There is no popular support. The adventure is a drain on national purse at the time of recession. In order to make elegant exit US needs a legitimate government acceptable to various ethnic groups in Afghanistan that is capable of enforcing law and order. The bets US made on (a) armed force (b) friendly Afghan government (c) animosity with Taliban and (d) trusting Pakistan to support its war efforts in destroying Al Qaeda are not working. Throwing money into Afghanistan or Pakistan has been a waste. Can US exit Pakistan elegantly? Or will it just "switch off the lights" and make for the door unmindful of the post exit mess?

Afghanistan is in a logjam. It is an ethnically divided society where Pashtuns (the majority) and non-Pashtuns do not get along well. The current government came to power in a sham election with insufficient representation for the majority Pashtun; and is very corrupt. The Afghan army is not well balanced (disproportionately low Pashtuns); is weak and suffers high desertion. Government maintains rule with the help of US led forces. In the last ten years, thanks to US money, the non-Pashtuns have gotten rich; and the Pashtuns have remained poor. 97% of the economy depends on international military spending.
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Format: Hardcover
The focus of Rashid's earlier books, "Taliban" (2000; revised edition 2010) and "Descent into Chaos" (2008) - see my reviews on Amazon - was Afghanistan. It was made clear in both books that the ISI, Pakistan's all-powerful intelligence service, had allowed the Afghan Taliban safe havens in Pakistan to which it could retreat after it was ousted in 2001, where it could regroup, and from where it could stage its increasingly successful comeback from 2003 onwards.

Despite its title, Pakistan is a very uncertain focus of this third part of the trilogy - uncertain only in part because, just as it is impossible to discuss Afghanistan without extensive excursions into the history of Pakistan, the reverse is equally true. At least a third of the book is more of a continuation of Rashid's earlier books on Afghanistan than it is an analysis of what is wrong with Pakistan.

It continues and extends the catalogue of US ineptitude that we saw in "Descent into Chaos". The Obama administration has handled Afghanistan as incompetently as the Bush administrations had done. The Washington turf battles over policy were worse than ever, and although sound policy papers were produced, they were not acted upon. Obama seems as much captive to US military thinking as Zardari is to that of the Pakistani military. In 2009 Obama announced surges at the same time as he signalled a specific date by which a draw-down of American troops would begin - encouraging the Taliban to hold out against the surge with the confidence that soon the field would be clear for them. There was a build-up of the Afghan Army and police, who were supposed to take over when the Americans left, but the desertion rate was staggering. American relations with Karzai are as tense as those with Pakistan.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it came up as a recommendation based on my reading of Little America by Rajiv Chandrasekharan. Unlike that book, which properly cites credible sources, I found this book to offer much opinion and faulty logic. I get the impression that Rashid, who does identify shortcomings of the Karzais and the Afghan people, still thinks that all of the problems of the Afghans are the responsibility of others. As though Afghanistan is owed something by the rest of the world? For what, producing poppies and an incubator for Islamic extremism? Just like Karzai blaming everything but himself for the state of affairs, Mr. Rashid's loose citations of foreign intrigue to the detriment of Afghanistan aren't completely credible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like the first two books by Rashid, "Taliban" and "Decent in Chaos", he offers a perspective most of us from the West often overlook. As a Pakistani with historical insights to what happened in the past provides a vision for what is happening now and for the future.

That said, I worked Paktia and Khost provinces early 2003 with involvement in the standing up the 1st Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Gardez. Although, it was a long time ago (and followed by Iraq), my perspective at long term national building, democratic institutions and essentially long term stability had a faint chance..even back then of success. Today, the issues remain the same....infrastructure development, sustain peace and security, credible government and leadership at the national and provincial levels.

I do take exception to Rashid's posture that the West is responsible for all or most of the mistakes with the elements of nation building as mentioned in the previous paragraph. The Afghan's themselves have yet to experience the "Arab Spring" kind of momentum at any level. In general, the population stands aside and allows the international community to do what they do. Certainly, some blame rests on our mentality..."do it our way" kind of mandate.

Feudalism mixed with tribal and cultural/language issues result in Afghanistan being many different countries in one. That is how it is now and will be for generations.

And as for Pakistan...the country has never fully dedicated its resources to assisting the west in eliminating the Taliban from the tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan. This we all know...so, how can ISAF attain any sense of stability along the border areas when training camps continue to breed extremist jihadist.
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