The Taliban Revival


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Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier

Hassan Abbas

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The true story of the Taliban’s remarkable resurgence in Pakistan and war-torn Afghanistan more than a decade after the U.S. military’s post-9/11 incursion

In autumn 2001, U.S. and NATO troops were deployed to Afghanistan to unseat the Taliban rulers, repressive Islamic fundamentalists who had lent active support to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda jihadists. The NATO forces defeated and dismantled the Taliban government, scattering its remnants across the country. But despite a more than decade-long attempt to eradicate them, the Taliban endured—regrouping and reestablishing themselves as a significant insurgent movement. Gradually they have regained control of large portions of Afghanistan even as U.S. troops are preparing to depart from the region.
In his authoritative and highly readable account, author Hassan Abbas examines how the Taliban not only survived but adapted to their situation in order to regain power and political advantage. Abbas traces the roots of religious extremism in the area and analyzes the Taliban’s support base within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In addition, he explores the roles that Western policies and military decision making— not to mention corruption and incompetence in Kabul—have played in enabling the Taliban’s resurgence.

Hassan Abbas is professor and chair of the department of regional and analytical atudies at National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs in Washington, D.C.

‘In this highly readable new book, Hassan Abbas offers a detailed examination of how and why the Taliban not only survived, but were able to regain power and advantage. . .Abbas’ account is both nuanced and highly knowledgeable, reflecting his experiences as a young police officer in the Pashtun areas through the lens of an experienced academic.'—Christina Hellmich, Times Higher Education Supplement
'Hassan Abbas is one of the world's leading experts on the militant groups of South Asia. In The Taliban Revival he charts the resurgence of the Taliban on both sides of the Afghanistan–Pakistan border. The book is well written, deeply researched, analytically sharp and is an important contribution to our understanding of the Taliban.' - Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: From 9/11 to Abbottabad - The Ten-Year Search for Osama bin Laden

‘In The Taliban Revival, he offers rational explanations for their having fought against the British, the Soviets and the Americas: the Pashtuns have a culture of resisting invaders, he writes, because they have always lived on the edge of other people’s empires and so have been invaded with remarkable frequency.’—Owen Bennett-Jones, London Review of Books

"Abbas’s clear prose, access to many Pakistani officials, and academic perspective decode the contending players and passions. As a non-expert, I found this book informative and highly readable."—Frank Hoffman, War on the Rocks

"A limpid account of the tortured relations between President George W. Bush and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 suicide attacks and the ousting of Mullah Omar’s Taliban regime in Kabul. It is a catalogue of missed chances, deception and self-deception."—Robert Fox, The World Today

"Hassan Abbas was born in Pakistan and spent time as a police officer in Pakistan’s tribal areas before he left for the United States and a career in academia. He is familiar with the local culture and the perceptions of it held by those in Washington, where he teaches, all of which makes him unique among commentators on the area."—Greg Waldmann, Open Letters Monthly

"Important reading for students of geopolitics and Central Asian affairs."—Kirkus Reviews
'A comprehensive, wise, and highly readable assessment of how mistaken policy choices have led to the revival of the Taliban. Hassan Abbas, one of the world's leading experts on the region, shows how regional powers, donor nations, and NATO have pursued their own narrow, short-term interests in the region, often to the detriment of the Afghan people. The result is that Afghanistan still lacks the schools and law-enforcement personnel that are required to fight the distorted version of Islam, and the crime, that the Taliban spreads. Anyone interested in the Taliban and south-west Asia will be saddened, fascinated, and instructed.' - Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religios Militants Kill

"Well-written and comprehensive."—Douglas Ollivant, Foreign Policy South Asia Channel

‘There are many books on the Taliban, but this one stands out for the way it weaves together the tribal, governmental and national aspects of this movement, and its Pakistani and Afghan wings.’ —Survival

"Abbas’ clear and convincing analysis . . . shows how the Afghan Taliban differ from Taliban groups based in Pakistan and how all those groups fit into the not-so-Great Game played by India, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia . . . . Thoughtful and well-written."—Foreign Affairs
ISBN: 9780300178845
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
296 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus
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