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Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  346 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Ahmed Rashid, whose masterful account of Afghanistan's Taliban regime became required reading after September 11, turns his legendary skills as an investigative journalist to five adjacent Central Asian Republics-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan--where religious repression, political corruption and extreme poverty have created a fertile clima ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Penguin Books (NYC) (first published January 1st 2002)
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Nicholas
My friend J gave me this book before I went to Kazakhstan working with the United States Peace Corps, so, at the time, I found it a more interesting read then I probably would have, had I been traveling to, let's say, the Western Congo or Oceania. To date, not many books about Central Asia exist, at least, not all that many good ones. There is Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubronand Tom Bissell's books (of which I will discuss in later reviews), yet few others. Since 9/11, the world's attention w ...more
Lars
Mar 14, 2008 Lars rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone wishing to understand post-Soviet Central Asia and some of the roots of radical jihadism
Recommended to Lars by: My mother, trying to dissuade me from visiting the region.
This was a fascinating book for me, and not just because I've hosted a high school exchange student from the region. It clearly lays out who the main actors are, and identifies which ones are radical jihadis, versus those groups which take political action instead to work toward their religiously-inspired goals.

One of the more interesting insights I gained in the course of reading this is just how chaotic the dissolution of the Soviet Union was for the former SSRs. As the author notes, Russia, U
...more
Martin
I picked up this book at Borders when I spotted the author's name: journalist Ahmed Rashid. I had read his superb analysis of the radical Islamists who ruled Afghanistan, "Taliban."

Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia is another fine piece of journalism written with the eye of a historian. Rashid synthesizes his own observations and reporting with larger historical forces into a cogent argument that the West's neglect of the newly independent, former Soviet Republics (Tajikistan, K
...more
Erik Graff
Dec 27, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Central Asia fans
Recommended to Erik by: A.M.
I read Rashid's Taliban and Jihad back-to-back after several friends had recommended him. Before reading the latter I would have had trouble confidently locating Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan on a map. Indeed, I would still have trouble, this being my first book about the region which was not from the perspective of another country such as Russia or Britain.

For some reason, I have read both of Rashid's books with a grain of salt. The issue of controlling these
...more
Claire
This is the book that the reference librarian pointed me to first! It answered my curiosities more directly, and showed me I actually studied this already for a couple of semesters, I just buried all the information in feelings (generally of apprehension, but also adoration - this is the more questionable part of me *cough*).

I particularly liked the Hizb ut-Tahrir chapter since it abbreviated that group as HT but I couldn't ever remember what that stood for again, until I noticed the answer was
...more
Signe
According to Ahmed Rashid, the rise of militant Islam in Central Asia is due to the previous suppression of secular democratic parties, the repression of Islam under the Soviet Union, and in reaction to continued foreign presence in the region by the U.S., Russia, and China. In general, any effort by authorities to contain opposition legitimizes it to the people, and popularity of these groups increases amongst populations hungry for revolution.

The book was very informative; however, the errors
...more
Shea Mastison
I grew up in the Midwest. The fact that I could identify Mexico, Canada, and states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island on the map made me a goddamn geography wiz in school. However, reading this book I found myself constantly looking up maps on wikipedia to get a sense of the geography of Central Asia as it is so important to Rashid's narrative. This book was highly informative and enlightening; also, incredibly scholarly. When I saw that it was written by a journalist, I thought it would be an ...more
Rachel
Not knowing much about Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, I found this book extremely enlightening. Rashid takes the reader through the interwoven political and economic climate of these Central Asian countries, while also not ignoring the strong role Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, and the USA play in the region. At times however, I felt that Rashid repeated himself. Others have commented the book is out of date - but knowing that he wrote it immediately before 9/ ...more
Adam
Important for what's happening now. And I read this book in college ten years ago!
Farhan
The Afghan puzzle, or for that matter the Wazirstan issue in Pakistan, can never be truly understood without undergoing into the roots of militany in the central asia as the events in that region have influenced thoughts and minds in the Hidukush area. The book by Ahmed Rashid helps in understanding the extremist mindset and root causes of its resonance being felt on the western borders of Pakistan. It will go a long way in completing the picture of fundementalist trends. Certainly a good read. ...more
Amanda
I picked this up at the Alachua Co Library Sale, and although my copy reeked of cigarette smoke, it was an interesting read (I hesitate to use the word "enjoyable" because it's subject is rather somber). If you're looking for a book on the influence of terrorist groups in areas that don't usually make the nightly news (Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, for example), I highly recommend it.
Jason
It's very dry and very outdated at this point, but it's interesting to see how far back the roots of militant Islam extend (Tsarist Russia) and how all kinds of tiny threads have woven together to form a tapestry of corruption, oppression and militant action.
Clifford Quattlander
A concise history of the nations in Central Asia during the fall of the Soviet Union and their first decade of independence. Since I just finished the first edition that came out in 2002, some of the information may be a bit dated.
Jocelyn
Great info as an introduction to Central Asia. The only downside is that the book is outdated, as it was published 10 years ago.
In any case, I've now acquired a newfound fascination for this particular region of the world.
Gabrielle Ghazali
Oct 03, 2007 Gabrielle Ghazali rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: central asian enthusiasts
not Ahmed's most readable book but still worth a flip through if Central Asian Islamic Militancy is your thing. chock full of interesting facts that will clear up a lot of questions to todays political situations.
Pat
Very comprehensive. Rashid says, "A well-fed, well-housed, and fully employed population will not provide recruits for the IMU [Islamic Movemetn of Uzbekistan] or any other terrorist organization."
Dee W.
Somewhat better than Taliban but still short sighted on some fronts. It suffers for being written at the start of the conflict with the U.S., but it is a good primer for Islam in the area.
Ramón
If you've never read anything about this region of the world, this is a great book to get familiar with an area that will continue to intrude itself into Western consciousness.
Dirk
I've written it before (just a moment ago actually)and I'll write it again ... read everything Rashid's written before you head to your polling place next year.
Alex
A good read that is well worth the 200 or so pages. It gives a great history and analysis of the region up until just before 9/11.
Boozy
Excellent source material for anyone working in the region. While I may not agree 100% with the authors solutions it is worth reading.
PMP
Every academic argues that his area of specialisation is the next hotbed of crisis and disaster. How else will he make his living?
Greynomad
Reading about the history of the collapse of Russia and the effect on Central Asia is about Obamacare at its best.......
Baniza
Jihad is essential reading for anyone who seeks to gain a better understanding of a region we overlook at our peril.
Sarah
I found this book informative and interesting. I enjoyed reading it very much. I also plan to read Taliban.
Karyle Frazier
Ahmed Rashid has great insight into Central Aisian politics and policies.
Kate
I found this readable and informative, but that's about as glowing as I can be.
Shannon
Out of date but very informative.
Sara
Also good for background.
Komaruzzaman
Jul 23, 2007 Komaruzzaman added it
Recommends it for: sauya
Shelves: baca-baca
baca dong
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Son of Ahmed (an engineer) and Piari (a homemaker) Rashid; married Angeles Espino Perez- Hurtado, 1982; children: Raphael, Sara Bano. Education: Attended Government College, Lahore, Pakistan, 1966- 68, and Cambridge University, 1968-70; earned B.A. and M.A. Religion: Muslim. Addresses: Homeoffice: Lahore Cant., Pakistan. E-mail: review@brain.net.pk.

Career: Journalist and broadcaster. Correspondent
...more
More about Ahmed Rashid...
Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia Descent into Chaos: The United States & the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan & Central Asia Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism Afghanistan Revealed

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