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Talibanistan: Negotiating the Borders Between Terror, Politics, and Religionby Peter Bergen
Synopses & Reviews
The longest war the United States has ever fought is the ongoing war in Afghanistan. But when we speak of "Afghanistan," we really mean a conflict that straddles the border with Pakistan--and the reality of Islamic militancy on that border is enormously complicated.
In Talibanistan, an unparalleled group of experts offer a nuanced understanding of this critical region. Edited by Peter Bergen, author of the bestselling books The Longest War and The Osama Bin Laden I Know, and Katherine Tiedemann, these essays examine in detail the embattled territory from Kandahar in Afghanistan to Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. They pull apart the distinctions between the Taliban and al Qaeda--and the fractures within each movement; assess the effectiveness of American and Pakistani counterinsurgency campaigns; and explore the pipeline of militants into and out of the war zone. Throughout, these scrupulously researched studies challenge convenient orthodoxies. Counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman criticizes the customary distinction between an Afghan and Pakistani Taliban as being too neat to describe their fragmented reality. Hassan Abbas paints a subtle portrait of the political and religious forces shaping the insurgency in the Northwest Frontier Province, uncovering poor governance, economic distress, and resentment of foreign troops in nearby Afghanistan. And Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann try to identify the real numbers of drone strikes and victims, both militants and civilians, while disputing claims for their strategic effectiveness.
These and other essays provide profound new insight into this troubled region. They are required reading for anyone seeking a fresh understanding of a central strategic challenge facing the United States today.
The universe of militant groups in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), near the Afghan border, is far more complex and diverse than is commonly understood. While these groups share many ideological and historical characteristics, the militants have very different backgrounds, tribal affiliations, and strategic concepts that are key to understanding the dynamics of this dangerous, war-torn region-- the main safe haven of al-Qaeda and the gateway to fighting in Afghanistan. This volume of essays, edited by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann and produced in connection with the New America Foundation, explores the history and current state of the lawless frontier of "Talibanistan," from the groups that occupy its various sub-regions to the effects of counterinsurgency and military intervention (including drone strikes) and the possibility of reconciliation. Contributors include MIT's Sameer Lalwani, NYU's Paul Cruickshank, Afghan journalist Anand Gopal, and Brian Fishman of the New America Foundation.
About the Author
Peter Bergen is the director of the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation and Research Fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security, as well as National Security Analyst at CNN. He is the author of The Longest War (Free Press, 2011) and The Osama Bin Laden I Know (Free Press, 2006). He lives in Washington, DC.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann
Overview - Brian Fishman
The Militant Pipeline - Paul Cruickshank
The Relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban - Anne Stenersen
Pakistan's Counterinsurgency Strategy - Sameer Lalwani
Drone Strikes in Pakistan - Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland
Political Landscape of the Insurgency - Hassan Abbas
Bajaur - Rahmanullah
Swat - Daud Khan Khattak
North Waziristan - Mansur Khan Mahsud, Anand Gopal, and Brian Fishman
South Waziristan - Mansur Khan Mahsud
Zabul and Uruzgan - Martine van Bijlert
Kandahar - Anand Gopal
Conclusion - Peter Bergen
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History and Social Science » Military » Afghan War (2001-)