Fundamentalism Reborn?

Afghanistan Under the Taliban

253 pages

March, 1998

ISBN: 9780814755860

$27

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William Maley is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of New South Wales.

All books by William Maley

In 1996, the world watched with varying degrees of interest, surprise, and unease as armed, ultra- fundamentalist insurgents overthrew the Afghan government. Within days of their victory, the Taliban, a militant Islamic sect, were issuing draconian religious decrees, restricting women's employment and movement, rounding up Afghans at gunpoint to pray five times a day, and publicly executing political opponents and criminals.

Composed of essays commissioned from the foremost experts on the Taliban, this anthology traces the movement's origins, its ascendance, the reasons for its success, and its role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Crucial to the Taliban's staying power as a governing force will be its relations with neighboring countries and with the West. Interestingly, given their intense hatred of Iran, the Taliban were enthusiastically supported by the U.S. government up to the very moment of their triumphant arrival in Kabul.

Examining yet another country on the brink of ethnic disintegration, Fundamentalism Reborn? is a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the history, rise to power, and future of the most dramatic manifestation of Islamic fundamentalism since the Iranian revolution.

Reviews

  • "A useful analysis of the Taliban and politics and society in Afghanistan today. The four chapters on the intensive foreign involvement—by Pakistan, the United States, Russian, the Central Asian republics, Saudi Arabia, and Iran—show that the venerable "great game" once played between Britain and czarist Russia now has multiple players."

    Foreign Affairs

  • "A fascinating and thorough analysis of the very complex political/military situation that evolved in Afghanistan follwing the demise of the Soviet puppet regime in 1992. This volume also provides an insightful study of the rise of a new form of puritanical Islamic fundamentalism that overran Kabul in September 1996—namely, the Taliban, and its impact on Afghan society. . . . Highly recommended."

    Choice

  • "[It] is an important collection of essays by leading experts on Afghanistan and the Taliban...an invaluable academic resource for anyone seeking to understand how the Taliban came to rule and "ruin" Afghanistan."

    Washington Times