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The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674032248
ISBN-10: 0674032241
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Observers in the 1990s marveled to see the Taliban bring order to a chaotic Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. Admiration vanished as the Taliban proceeded to oppress men as well as women and massacre opponents. When they refused to surrender Osama bin Laden after 9/11, the U.S. invasion helped sweep them from power. Then dismissed as reactionary zealots, the Taliban have since been revived and are now steadily expanding their influence. Historian Crews and reporter Tarzi have assembled eight revealing essays on this widely reviled movement. The Taliban are ethnic Pashtuns who make up perhaps half the country's population and whose elite have traditionally ruled the country. This ragtag army of Islamic clerics and religious students presented itself as a superior alternative to ruling Pashtun elites and successfully manipulated tribal politics. Despite accusations of being a medieval throwback, the Taliban are Islamic counter modernists. Their use of mass spectacle, surveillance, the media and even their strict regulation of gender roles is consistent with other modern totalitarian movements. The authors' 58-page introduction adds additional clarity and context to Afghanistan's tortured history, making for an engrossing read that is more accessible than most academic collections. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Bringing the story of a poorly understood but suddenly vitally important political movement up to date, the authors provide new perspectives on a revitalized Taliban that again threatens the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan. (David Edwards, Williams College)

Tarzi and Crews' account of the Taliban's historical and political evolution provides a most useful and important perspective on strategic thinking. Issues that bedeviled the Taliban endure, and this timely book underlines the scope of the problem. (Ronald E. Neumann, former Ambassador to Afghanistan)

Historian Crews and reporter Tarzi have assembled eight revealing essays on this widely reviled movement...The authors' 58-page introduction adds additional clarity and context to Afghanistan's tortured history, making for an engrossing read. (Publishers Weekly 2007-11-19)

The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan is of great value and highly welcome...Historically, successful counter-insurgency depends on striking political deals with parts of the insurgency. For that to happen, NATO needs to know its enemy. This volume makes a great contribution towards understanding the Taliban and the insurgency. (Timo Noetzel World Today 2008-04-01)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674032241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674032248
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was nervous about this book at first. Often books that are series of chapters written by different authors can be hit or miss. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case in this book. The extremely long introduction set the book's tone, making its a detailed analysis of the various parties and ideas that make up the Taliban and was written in away that made the book easily digestible. Chapters on the Rise and fall of the Taliban and the Neo-Taliban were of particular interest. Both giving a contrasting picture of the way the movement formed and the way the "movement" exists today (extremely fragmented).

There was nice chapters on why the movement gained ground so fast, and why the new government (and ISAF) has so many problems consolidating its power today. The last conclusion was not as original or insightful, however, as the rest of the book. And seemed to jump on the failures of both the new government and ISAF with out emphasizing, as the rest of the book did, the complexities and nuances of the Afghan situation.

This book along with Ahmed Rashid's book on the Taliban, are great to have.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is extremely well written and is a fount of information. It is a must for anyone trying to understand the mess in Afghanistan.
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Format: Paperback
This book is not for anyone who is mostly unfamiliar with the general history of Afghanistan. This is a thorough, in-depth analysis from multiple author's perspectives of the foundation, rise, defeat, and subsequent resurrection of the Taliban. Each of the essays was packed with history and information. The text can sometimes meander from topic to topic, needing to explain one facet of Afghan history in order to tell a story about the rise of the Taliban, but altogether the authors have done a competent job in summing up a complex subject. I would recommend having a map of the country nearby while reading.
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By Raul on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book that highlights some great items about the Afghan political, military, and specially cultural issues. The introduction is rather long but the rest of the book coves in the chapters (separate from each other) some good points
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great reference book on the Taliban
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