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Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia
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Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  408 Ratings  ·  33 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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Sep 05, 2008 Nicholas rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2008 Lars rated it really liked it
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
Kathleen McRae
Aug 15, 2016 Kathleen McRae rated it really liked it
Interesting book with lots of the history behind the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan and their struggles after the breakup of USSR.
Aug 18, 2007 Dirk rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 26, 2009 Martin rated it liked it
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
Erik Graff
Jun 27, 2010 Erik Graff rated it liked it
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
Shea Mastison
Mar 24, 2012 Shea Mastison rated it liked it
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
Aug 23, 2014 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2008 Signe rated it really liked it
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
Mar 26, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2009 Farhan rated it liked it
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
Jun 05, 2016 Amit rated it liked it
This is a well researched book opening ones eyes to the turbulence of a region often collectively sidelined in today's world as CIS. Though I found the book a little repetitive on facts, it is nevertheless an absorbing narrative of a part of the world which was historically, not only the nursery of the conquering tribes but also an important passage in the trade routes. It examines, how after almost a century of oblivion, this region is back in the world reckoning because of turmoil and oil !
May 02, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Oct 18, 2010 Jason rated it liked it
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.
Gabrielle Ghazali
Oct 03, 2007 Gabrielle Ghazali rated it liked it
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.
May 31, 2011 K rated it really liked it
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.
Excellent source material for anyone working in the region. While I may not agree 100% with the authors solutions it is worth reading.
Jan 29, 2011 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Mar 24, 2008 Ramón rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 07, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
I found this book informative and interesting. I enjoyed reading it very much. I also plan to read Taliban.
Dee W.
Nov 14, 2007 Dee W. rated it liked it
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.
May 01, 2012 Baniza rated it it was amazing
Jihad is essential reading for anyone who seeks to gain a better understanding of a region we overlook at our peril.
Jan 21, 2008 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: general
Also good for background.
Adam Smith
nice book
Aug 31, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it
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."
Mar 12, 2007 PMP rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: presenttense
Every academic argues that his area of specialisation is the next hotbed of crisis and disaster. How else will he make his living?
Mar 23, 2007 Kate rated it it was ok
I found this readable and informative, but that's about as glowing as I can be.
Jul 23, 2007 Komaruzzaman added it
Recommends it for: sauya
Shelves: baca-baca
baca dong
Oct 06, 2013 Greynomad rated it liked it
Reading about the history of the collapse of Russia and the effect on Central Asia is about Obamacare at its best.......
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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:

Career: Journalist and broadcaster. Correspondent
More about Ahmed Rashid...

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