Lance Johnson's Reviews > Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

Taliban by Ahmed Rashid
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really liked it

This book should be a must read for all Americans. Our country has been involved militarily in the Afghan quagmire for coming up on two decades and yet most Americans (sometimes it seems even our policy-makers) have little to no real understanding of what has happened in Afghanistan, and why it happened. I certainly did not know much about the topic, other than a few oft repeated tidbits. Nowadays, there are many books on the Taliban and Afghanistan in general, but this is one of the only books not blinded by hindsight. While most post-9/11 books seem to paint the war on terror and the World Trade Center attacks as an inevitable outcome which every event was leading up to and ignore any other political, ideological, and situational considerations which existed. This book was initially published just before 9/11, and therefore is able to explore the Taliban in a more nuanced fashion. The new edition includes some post-9/11 summary but if you are looking for post-9/11 history, look elsewhere.
The book is not without flaws, and chief among those flaws is the way the author flits and darts around through time and space. One moment it is 1999 in Pakistan, and the next it is 1982 in Afghanistan, and then it is 1991 in Uzbekistan. A complicated topic such as the one explored in this book can hardly be told properly in an entirely linear narrative, but a little more consistency or clearer delineations would have gone a long way. The last part of the book seemed to have received less editing than the first part of the book and I noticed more typos, repeated words, and missing punctuation. It did not hinder comprehension but is always a bit disappointing to see in an otherwise great book.

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Reading Progress

November 1, 2018 – Shelved
November 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
November 2, 2018 – Started Reading
November 2, 2018 –
page 55
November 4, 2018 –
page 103
November 10, 2018 – Finished Reading

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