Synopses & Reviews
The #1 New York Times bestselling author provides a shocking analysis of the crisis in Pakistan and the renewed radicalism threatening Afghanistan and the West.
Ahmed Rashid is “Pakistan’s best and bravest reporter” (Christopher Hitchens). His unique knowledge of this vast and complex region allows him a panoramic vision and nuance that no Western writer can emulate.
His book Taliban first introduced American readers to the brutal regime that hijacked Afghanistan and harbored the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Now, Rashid examines the region and the corridors of power in Washington and Europe to see how the promised nation building in these countries has pro-gressed. His conclusions are devastating: An unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan, a renewed al’ Qaeda profiting from a booming opium trade, and a Taliban resurgence and reconquest. While Iraq continues to attract most of American media and military might, Rashid argues that Pakistan and Afghanistan are where the conflict will finally be played out and that these failing states pose a graver threat to global security than the Middle East.
Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the crisis in Pakistan are only the beginning. Rashid assesses what her death means for the region and the future. Rashid has unparalleled access to the figures in this global drama, and provides up-to-the-minute analysis better than anyone else. Descent Into Chaos will do for Central Asia what Thomas Rick’s Fiasco did for Iraq — offer a blistering critique of the Bush administration and an impassioned call to correct our failed strategy in the region.
"Long overshadowed by the Iraq War, the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan and Central Asia finally receives a searching retrospective as Rashid (Taliban) surveys the region to reveal a thicket of ominous threats and lost opportunities in Pakistan, a rickety dictatorship colludes with militants, and Afghanistan's weak government is besieged by warlords, an exploding drug economy and a powerful Taliban insurgency. The author blames the unwillingness of American policymakers to shoulder the burden of nation building. According to Rashid, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and subsequently refused to commit the forces and money needed to rebuild it; instead the U.S. government made corrupt alliances with warlords to impose a superficial calm, while continuing to ignore the Pakistani government's support of the Taliban and the other Islamic extremists who have virtually taken over Pakistan's western provinces. With his unparalleled access to sources 'I constantly berated [Afghan President] Karzai for his failure to understand the usefulness of political parties' Rashid is an authoritative guide to the region's politics and his is an insightful, at times explosive, indictment of the U.S. government's hand in the region's degeneration. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
For almost three decades, Ahmed Rashid has been the foremost journalist reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Descent into Chaos
is a crucial book with a timely message for policy-makers, the military, global strategists, and mostly the ill-informed public alike. Descent
follows his acclaimed bestsellers Taliban
, which are the definitive works to explore the rise of radical extremism, and the massive failures of western interventionist policies in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
For a western audience, as a foremost voice from the east, Descent is Rashid's definitive work, and not only provides of thoughtful, detailed dissection of seminal events in Central Asian recent history, but an insightful snapshot into future scenarios of where the roadmaps to terror and peace may be headed.
Greg Mortenson, author of # 1 NYT bestseller Three Cups of Tea
"Not only provides thoughtful, detailed dissection of seminal events in Central Asian recent history, but an insightful snapshot into future scenarios of where the roadmaps to terror and peace may be headed."
-Greg Mortenson, author of The New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea
"Rashid, a Pakistani journalist, is that most valuable of political analysts: both insider and outsider to the problem he studies. His book should be read by anyone pondering how America might stop widening Osama bin Ladin's pool of bomb-clad volunteers."
- Chicago Tribune
"[A] brilliant and passionate book."
-The New York Review of Books
andquot;[Rashid] literally wrote the book on the Taliban and now has added a superb work on the future of Pakistan.andquot;
andquot;Ahmed Rashid's latest work provides essential insights for anyone who hopes to understand what's going on in Central Asia and the alternative futures that stretch out before it.andquot;
andquot;Insightful . . . Readers will welcome this insiderandrsquo;s lucid, expert account of a disaster in the making.andquot;
andquot;Pakistan on the Brink is a page turner. Through Ahmed Rashid's eloquent, incisive, objective, and fact-based descriptions of events and blunders repeatedly committed by the Afghan, Pakistani, and American establishments, the reader gets a great understanding of the genesis of the quagmire for which President Obama has coined the phrase AfPak.andquot;
andquot;A clear-headed, sobering look at a country whose ties with the U.S. are becoming ever more frayed.andquot;
The #1 "New York Times"-bestselling author provides a shocking analysis of the crisis in Pakistan and the renewed radicalism threatening Afghanistan and the West.
After September 11th , Ahmed Rashid's crucial book Taliban
introduced American readers to that now notorious regime. In this new work, he returns to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia to review the catastrophic aftermath of America's failed war on terror. Called "Pakistan's best and bravest reporter" by Christopher Hitchens, Rashid has shown himself to be a voice of reason amid the chaos of present-day Central Asia. Descent Into Chaos
is his blistering critique of American policy-a dire warning and an impassioned call to correct these disasterous strategies before these failing states threaten global stability and bring devastation to our world.
An urgent, on-the-ground report from Pakistanandmdash;from the bestselling author of Descent Into Chaos and Taliban
and#160;Ahmed Rashid, one of the world's leading experts on the social and political situations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, offers a highly anticipated update on the possibilitiesandmdash;and hazardsandmdash;facing the United States after the death of Osama bin Laden and as Operation Enduring Freedom winds down. With the characteristic professionalism that has made him the preeminent independent journalist in Pakistan for three decades, Rashid asks the important questions and delivers informed insights about the future of U.S. relations with the troubled region. His most urgent book to date, Pakistan on the Brink
is the third volume in a comprehensive series that is a call to action to our nation's leaders and an exposition of this conflict's impact on the security of the world.
About the Author
Ahmed Rashid is a journalist who has been covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia for more than twenty years. He is a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, Daily Telegraph, and The Nation, a leading newspaper in Pakistan. His #1 New York Times bestseller Taliban has been translated into more than twenty languages.
Table of Contents
Descent into Chaos Maps
Countries and Cities of Central Asia
Ethnic Distribution Within Pakistan and Afghanistan
Afghan Provinces and Federally Administered Tribal Areas
NATO Deployment and Provincial Reconstruction Team Locations in Afghanistan, 2007
Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan, 2007
Military Offensives Launched by the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, 2007-2008
Imperial Overreach and Nation Building
Part One: 9/11 And War
1. A Man With A Mission
The Unending Conflict in Afghanistan
2. "The U.S. Will Act Like a Wounded Bear"
Pakistan's Long Search for Its Soul
3. The Chief Executive's Schizophrenia
Pakistan, the United Nations, and the United States Before 9/11
Retaliation and Invasion
5. The Search for a Settlement
Afghanistan and Pakistan at Odds
Part Two: The Politics of the Post-9/11 World
6. A Nuclear State of Mind
India, Pakistan, and the War of Permanent Instability
7. The One-Billion-Dollar Warlords
The War Within Afghanistan
8. Musharraf's Lost Moment
Political Expediency and Authoritarian Rule
Part Three: The Failure of Nation Building
9. Afghanistan I
10. Afghanistan II
11. Double-Dealing with Islamic Extremism
Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan
12. Taliban Resurgent
The Taliban Return Home
Part Four: Descent Into Chaos
13. Al Qaeda's Bolt-Hole
Pakistan's Tribal Areas
14. America Shows The Way
The Disappeared and the Rendered
15. Drugs and Thugs
Opium Fuels the Insurgency
16. Who Lost Uzbekistan?
Tyranny in Central Asia
17. The Taliban Offensive
Battling for Control of Afghanistan, 2006-2007
18. The Death of an Icon
Pakistan Struggles to Survive
A Fragile Future