Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban into sharp focus. He explains its rise to power, its impact on Afghanistan and the region, its role in oil and gas company decisions, and the effects of changing American attitudes toward the Taliban.
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Reviewed by: Ahmed A. Changezi, Islamabad.
This book deserves appreciation for its minute accounts of the happenings in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Rashid has done a fairly good amount of research on the Taliban and its style of rule. And his unfearful description of the intensive involvement of Pakistan's army and ISI in Afghanistan is reflective of a true journalistic spirit. However, an important thing i like to point out here is the history of the Hazaras Ahmed Rashid has mentioned in the 'Taliban'. Rashid's account of the origin of the Hazaras is 'absurd' at best. He has quoted a theory according to which the 'Hazaras' are a mixture of the Mongols and Tajiks. Mr. Rashid has probably missed the fact that a mixed race very likely carries at least some characteristics of those races out of whose mixture it has emerged. Ahmed Rashid's fantastic theory of the Hazaras' origin quoted in this book is ridiculous since the Hazaras do not have even the slightest features or characteristics of the Tajiks. The physical features of the Hazaras resemble those of Mongols so much that it is extremely difficult to tell a Hazara from a Mongol. Their domestic culture and life-style very much resemble those of the Mongols. Though still there are debates and some controversies over the origin of the Hazaras but, the National Geographic's 'Global Gene Project' has confirmed links of the Hazaras to the 13th Century Mongol emperor Genghis Khan. The point of this brief argument is Ahmed Rashid could have done better by quoting a more authentic and reasonable theory of the orign of the Hazaras - the inhabitants of Afghanistan's central highlands. And quoting such unauthentic and ridiculous theories amounts to the 'murder' of a people's identity.