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Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, a nd Central Asia Hardcover – June 3, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 51 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Long overshadowed by the Iraq War, the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan and Central Asia finally receives a searching retrospective as Rashid (Taliban) surveys the region to reveal a thicket of ominous threats and lost opportunities—in Pakistan, a rickety dictatorship colludes with militants, and Afghanistan's weak government is besieged by warlords, an exploding drug economy and a powerful Taliban insurgency. The author blames the unwillingness of American policymakers to shoulder the burden of nation building. According to Rashid, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and subsequently refused to commit the forces and money needed to rebuild it; instead the U.S. government made corrupt alliances with warlords to impose a superficial calm, while continuing to ignore the Pakistani government's support of the Taliban and the other Islamic extremists who have virtually taken over Pakistan's western provinces. With his unparalleled access to sources—I constantly berated [Afghan President] Karzai for his failure to understand the usefulness of political parties—Rashid is an authoritative guide to the region's politics and his is an insightful, at times explosive, indictment of the U.S. government's hand in the region's degeneration. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Pakistani journalist Rashid presciently warned about the problem of Islamic extremism in Taliban (2000), and in this work, he reviews the efforts since to defeat the fanatics. Sympathetic to the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, he proves to be highly critical of American-led strategy since and of the role in events of Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf. Personally acquainted with many involved in the attempted reconstruction of Afghanistan, such as its president, Hamid Karzai, Rashid covers years of international military, diplomatic, financial, and civil-affairs endeavors; in fact, the imposing quantity of information he presents makes his point: nothing tried so far has rescued Afghanistan from being a failed state. Afflicted by warlords, opium cultivation, ethnic divisions, and a resurgent Taliban, Afghanistan prompts pessimistic analysis from Rashid. He describes the support and haven that extremists in the mountainous tribal areas on the Afghan-Pakistani frontier have received from Pakistani intelligence. He then suggests that reform in Pakistan may improve matters in Afghanistan, which is indicative of the political difficulties dealt with by this well-informed current-affairs observer. --Gilbert Taylor

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
51 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2009
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Reviewed in the United States on October 21, 2008
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Seoulprovider
5.0 out of 5 stars Frankenstein's Monster
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2013
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... was second hand but very cheap price and very good condition.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 6, 2016
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3.0 out of 5 stars ... overall state of the book was definitely not very good as advertised
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 11, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 14, 2013
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Caped Crusader
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough On Predicament, Short On Prescription
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2009
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J. McNeill
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2009
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Nicola Molognoni
4.0 out of 5 stars Da leggere di un fiato
Reviewed in Italy on October 27, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Produktqualität war super!
Reviewed in Germany on January 11, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and very readable
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2008
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Orangutan
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2008
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in India on December 10, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in India on April 16, 2015
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