Contents: Preface. Introduction: Interpreting the Taliban/William Maley. I. The rise of the Taliban: 1.The Rabbani government, 1992-1996/Amin Saikal. 2. How the Taliban became a military force/Anthony Davis. 3. Pakistan and the Taliban/Ahmed Rashid. II. The Taliban and the world: 1. The United States and the Taliban/Richard Mackenzie. 2. Russia, Central Asia and the Taliban/Anthony Hyman. 3. Saudi Arabia, Iran and the conflict in Afghanistan/Anwar-ul-haq Ahady. III. The Taliban and the reconstruction of Afghanistan: 1. Dilemmas of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan/Michael Keating. 2. Afghan women under the Taliban/Nancy Hatch Dupree. 3. Is Afghanistan on the brink of ethnic and tribal disintegration?/Bernt Glatzer. 4. The UN in Afghanistan: ‘Doing its best’ or failure of a mission’?/William Maley. 5. Has Islamism a future in Afghanistan?/Olivier Roy. 6. The future of the state and the structure of community governance in Afghanistan/M. Nazif Shahrani. Index.
“In late 1994, a new force unexpectedly emerged in the politics of war-ravaged Afghanistan –the Taliban. This was ostensibly a movement of religious students, inspired by a vision which their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was said to have received in a dream. First it seized the southern city of Kandahar, then in 1995 it took over the ancient city of Heart, and finally, in September 1996, the capital Kabul fell to its forces. The Taliban enforced rigorous Sharia laws and restricted the employment and movement of women under a strict Islamic regime. Its draconian religious decrees and public executions of political opponents and criminals immediately captured world attention. Yet, much about the Taliban remains mysterious.
This book looks beyond popular stereotypes to explore the roots of the Taliban movement, the factors that contributed to its sudden rise and the implications of Taliban mobilization for the stability of Afghanistan and the surrounding region. The authors, all well-known specialists in the area, are sensitive both to the complexity of Afghan society and to the fluidity of Afghan politics in the wake of fifteen years of upheaval and destruction. Together they provide a many-faceted account of one of the most extraordinary phenomena of the contemporary world.”