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Fundamentalism Reborn?: Afghanistan and the Taliban [Hardcover]

William Maley , Michael Neiberg
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for the reader with ADD!!! May 14 2002
Format:Paperback
Fundamentalism Reborn? is a collection of writings by various authors, with a few words from Maley at the beginning and end of the book. The collection touches upon the rise of the Taliban and the future of the Afghani state. Individual topics vary, providing a wide scope of issues surrounding the Taliban and its role in Afghanistan. Foreign and domestic recognition of the Taliban, the need for financial support, and the Cold war are among these issues. Extremely important is the extreme need of financial aid in the face of a Western cold shoulder and hearty support from Islamic fundamentalists and terrorist organizations. The lack of US/Soviet aid after the Cold war was a central factor in the rise of the Taliban and its terrorist foundations, and is also one that is often overlooked.
Another subject brought up in the book is the role of the UN, and the need for it to provide not just mediation in the conflict, but rather reconstruction aid to Afghanistan. While my readings on Afghanistan are by no means extensive, thus far I have not seen much information on the crucial responsibility of the UN both in writing and in the media. As the world becomes more and more globalized, the need for international order and a single regulatory, unbiased body increases. Hence, as the world that is so dependent upon one another becomes more divided along Western-Islamic lines, the UN is the only source of peace and reconciliation between the opposing powers. So, it is a definite quality of attraction that Maley does include writings and touch upon the responsibilities of the UN in this matter.
Aside from being a deeply informative and organized account of the Taliban, the best aspect of this book is the variety of viewpoints provided to the reader.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good survey of Afghanistan since 1996 July 12 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
An excellent series of essays by veteran watchers of Afghanistan with much recent experience on the ground. Goes beyond the myths often repeated in daily papers. Impartial and rigorous on the Taliban and the nature of its support. The best book on post-1996 Afghanistan. I've written three books on Afghanistan myself, so I know a little of the subject.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting overview of current Afghan situation. July 13 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The book gives a lot of detail concerning the rise of the Taliban and the factors which have contributed to their success. The book also goes into great detail concerning the players involved in Afghanistan and with the Taliban today. For those familiar with the Afghan conflict this is very interesting reading but for the casual reader does little to clear up an already complex and misunderstood post Cold War conflict.
The chapter concerning the dilemmas facing the international agencies who are currently engaging with this movement was excellent although could have been expanded further. The loss of UN crediability to intervene in the ongoing civil war is perhaps one of the greatest disappointments to all involved, especially the civilians of the country.
The book is a compilation of a number of Afghanistan experts views. Therefore, the reader will find some chapters easy reading and informative while others seem cumbersome and boring.
The Western media portrays the excesses, or perceived fundamentalism, of the Taliban to a great extent. The book attempts to show that there are positive aspects to the movement as well. In a country which is traditionally conservative in its view of women and culture norms, the Taliban are not as hated as the media often indicates.
Overall the book does well in portraying a forgotten country and the issues it is dealing with in the post Soviet Union era.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for the reader with ADD!!! May 14 2002
By Shirin Raza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Fundamentalism Reborn? is a collection of writings by various authors, with a few words from Maley at the beginning and end of the book. The collection touches upon the rise of the Taliban and the future of the Afghani state. Individual topics vary, providing a wide scope of issues surrounding the Taliban and its role in Afghanistan. Foreign and domestic recognition of the Taliban, the need for financial support, and the Cold war are among these issues. Extremely important is the extreme need of financial aid in the face of a Western cold shoulder and hearty support from Islamic fundamentalists and terrorist organizations. The lack of US/Soviet aid after the Cold war was a central factor in the rise of the Taliban and its terrorist foundations, and is also one that is often overlooked.
Another subject brought up in the book is the role of the UN, and the need for it to provide not just mediation in the conflict, but rather reconstruction aid to Afghanistan. While my readings on Afghanistan are by no means extensive, thus far I have not seen much information on the crucial responsibility of the UN both in writing and in the media. As the world becomes more and more globalized, the need for international order and a single regulatory, unbiased body increases. Hence, as the world that is so dependent upon one another becomes more divided along Western-Islamic lines, the UN is the only source of peace and reconciliation between the opposing powers. So, it is a definite quality of attraction that Maley does include writings and touch upon the responsibilities of the UN in this matter.
Aside from being a deeply informative and organized account of the Taliban, the best aspect of this book is the variety of viewpoints provided to the reader. Although Maley does indeed offer his own personal opinions in the introduction and in his prophecy for Afghanistan, it does not subjugate the many other perspectives contained in the book. Unlike novels written by a single author, the reader is not plagued by bias, selectivity of information, or a single cultural standpoint. Rather than having a conclusion forced upon the reader, the reader is able to take in a wide array of information and attitudes, and then consolidate the information into his personal stance upon the very controversial subject. Maley did an excellent job in selecting authors from different backgrounds, stations, and outlooks, and moreover the continuous change of writing style allows for sustained interest in the book. To date, this has been my favorite piece of writing on Afghanistan and I would highly recommend it.
Shirin Raza
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good survey of Afghanistan since 1996 July 12 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent series of essays by veteran watchers of Afghanistan with much recent experience on the ground. Goes beyond the myths often repeated in daily papers. Impartial and rigorous on the Taliban and the nature of its support. The best book on post-1996 Afghanistan. I've written three books on Afghanistan myself, so I know a little of the subject.
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