From Publishers Weekly
Nuclear, unstable, fundamentalist, Islamicthese adjectives are often used in frightening combination when the media turns to the topic of modern-day Pakistan, a critical but volatile ally in the fight to eradicate al Qaeda. With the sensibilities of both an insider and a scholar, Abbas, a Harvard fellow and former officer in President Pervez Musharrafs anti-corruption police force, adds an important measure of sophistication to the popular understanding of Pakistans dangers and dysfunctions. His detailed analysis works through the countrys complicated history, starting in 1947 with the wrenching partition of British colonial India and ending with todays impoverished, graft-addled government, which seems closer to falling into a maelstrom of religious radicalism every day. An important thread running through this history is the way American foreign policyat times misguided or self-servingmagnified Pakistans homegrown ills. During the early 1980s, for instance, Pakistans pro-Western popular opinion appeared rock solid. "Only indifference, myopia and incompetence of flawless pedigree could have reversed this," Abbas writes. "But Pakistan and the United States would combine to produce the missing ingredient"a policy of statewide "Islamization" orchestrated by Pakistans then leader, General Zia Ul-Haq, and amplified by Washingtons parallel support of the anti-Soviet mujahideen movement. Abbas offers valuable descriptions of todays most active jihadi movements in Pakistan. More importantly, he shows how the Kashmir conflict, South Asias most aggravated political wound, has come to express numerous, overlapping national humiliationsoften underestimated by Washington and exploited by Islamabad. "If Pakistan is to be saved from its future," Abbas concludes, "It must start by coming to a sincere accommodation with India over Kashmir."
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"An engaging book on terrorism's largest growth market: Pakistan." -- The New York Times