Taliban: The Unknown Enemy

Taliban: The Unknown Enemy

by James Fergusson


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From a small group of religious students formed in 1994, the Taliban quickly grew into a national movement that occupied all of Afghanistan. Led by the mysterious Mullah Omar, the group established a theocracy based on strict observance of Sharia law. When the Americans overthrew the Taliban in 2001, the United States thought the regime had been defeated. Yet today, nine years later, the Taliban continue to wage a bloody insurgency.

In this extraordinary and compelling account of the rise, fall, and return of the Taliban, author James Fergusson, who has unique access to its shadowy leaders, presents the reality of themovement so often mischaracterized in the press. His surprising and, perhaps, uncomfortable conclusions about our current strategy in Afghanistan should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand this intractable conflict.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306820779
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 05/22/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 705,813
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

James Fergusson is a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent who has written for many publications, including The Times of London and The Economist. He is the author of Taliban: The Unknown Enemy and the award-winning A Million Bullets. He lives in Edinburgh.

Table of Contents

Introduction 13

Part I

1 The Tank of Islam: Kandahar, 1994 23

2 The Army of Orphans: Peshawar, 1996 37

3 'Try Not to Hurt the People!': Kabul, 1996-1998 72

4 The Government that Might Have Been, 1998-2000 101

5 The Al-Qaida Hijack, 1999-2001 121

6 Surviving the Daisycutters, 2001-2003 145

7 Like a Jam-jar to a Swarm of Wasps: The Insurgency Explodes, 2003-2009 168

Part II

8 The McChrystal Plan: Sawing Wood with a Hammer 195

9 'This One, This Is the Big One': Mullah Zaeef and the Prospects for Peace' 213

10 The Trouble with President Karzai 249

11 Getting Rich Quick in Tajik Kabul 259

12 Not Black and White, But Grey: Hizb-i-Islami and the Afghan Parliament 282

13 How to Talk to the Taliban 309

14 In the Jalalabad Fief of Shirzai 326

15 The Taliban of Chak 354

Postscript 383

Notes 389

Bibliography 396

Picture Credits 399

Index 403

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