Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

February 8, 2001

Journalist Ahmed Rashid presents a behind-the-scenes account of the rise of the Afghan Taliban. Rashid employs a wide geopolitical and historical lens, coupled with rare personal interviews with the Taliban'’s enigmatic leadership, in order to explain both the internal politics of the movement as well as the larger structural forces which allowed the fundamentalist organization to seize control of a traditionally moderate nation. Rashid sees little indigenous support for the Taliban’'s ideology and blames US Cold War economic support for the Taliban’'s precipitous rise to power. Written before the American invasion, Rashid'’s account is prescient: he reasons that internal instability in Afghanistan threatens the resource interests of both the United States and its neighbors and predicts that Taliban control of Afghanistan is unsustainable.

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