Reaping the Whirlwind : The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has historically fulfilled the role of an artificial "buffer state". In recent years, and particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has become the geopolitical playground of various regional interests - the Saudis, the Russians, the Pakistanis and the Americans. Resource rich and strategically important, Afghanistan's unstable and problematic history has been further complicated in recent years by the emergence of the mysterious Taliban - one of the most conservative and least understood Islamic movements in the world. This book provides an account of the background to the ongoing conflict in the area, and a profile of the Taliban movement itself - its origins and beliefs, its religious and political ethos, the character of its particular brand of so-called Islamic fundamentalism and the nature of its international links.
- Hardback | 312 pages
- 138.2 x 218.9 x 21.6mm | 617.08g
- 01 May 2001
- PLUTO PRESS
- London, United Kingdom
- index, 1 map
About Michael Griffin
Michael Griffin is a widely travelled freelance writer and journalist who has worked as an information consultant for UNICEF in Afghanistan. He is currently News Editor for Index on Censorship.
Table of contents
Chronology Preface 1 The Killing of Najibullah 2 City of Night 3 Warriors of God 4 A Mission to Cleanse 5 Burning Down the House 6 Zahir Option 7 The River Between 8 The New Emirates 9 Nest of Vipers 10 Oblivion's Feast 11 Hostages 12 Ignoble Grave 13 A Fistful of Dollars 14 Satellites and Stars 15 The Bicycle Thieves Conclusion Principal figures Index
'Michael Griffin has reached a better understanding of the Taliban in his book than I have come across anywhere else. This is a highly intelligent account of one of the most interesting and disturbing political movements in the world, and is essential reading to anyone who wishes to understand its nature.' John Simpson, BBC 'Michael Griffin has done us a great service with his book, teasing out the nuances of political, religious, and ethnic strife in Afghanistan -- a country that is both hidden and of immense importance to the Post-Cold War world. He shows us the blundering interventions of international players, ranging from greedy American and Argentine oil companies, to self-serving Iranian and Pakistani politicians. He provides a unique inside account of the agonizing choices faced by United Nations agencies -- a devil's dilemma between lending tacit support to the Taliban's brutal war against women's rights, and withholding relief supplies for suffering Afghani civilians. This book is crucial, not just for regional specialists, but for anyone who wants to understand the limitations of foreign policy in the growing number of violently sectarian strongholds in the world. ' Anne Nelson, Director, International Program, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism 'It's a great pleasure to have Michael Griffin's excellent book on the subject, which guides us through these tangles with lucidity and great understanding. It is level-headed and plausible in an area which is always going to be filled with the maddest sort of conspiracy theories, and, best of all, seeks to understand and even sympathise with the Taliban's aims - something much more difficult than just complaining about them. Everyone knows how terrible the regime is; anyone could just reproduce a list of outrages committed on innocent men and women by the religious police. What takes skill and intelligence, what will prove of some more substantial use and virtue, is an attempt to explain why, exactly, this situation arose, and why you consider the 'students' as madmen at your own peril.' Philip Hensher, The Spectator 'Reaping the Whirlwind provides the first comprehensive profile of the Taliban in the 21st century. Drawing on numerous interviews with key protagonists, conducted over a period of several years, Michael Griffin provides a fascinating eye-witness account of the Afghan conflict.' Middle East Magazine 'Michael Griffin's book looks at the ability of US policymakers to turn disaster into catastrophe - nowhere better illustrated than Afghanistan. It's now five years since the Taliban took over Kabul, after a decade of conflict that left 1.5 million dead and one third of the population in exile.' Labour Left Briefing 'So who and what are the Taliban, and where did they come from? Griffin supplies a well-argued answer to these questions ... Reaping the Whirlwind is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of the region, refreshingly free from any preconceived ideology. I would also recommend the book to those who consider that a dialogue between East and West will mark the coming decades, and those seeking to understand a fundamentalism that is increasingly apparent in other faiths.' The Tablet 'It is this complicated story ... the rise of the warlords and their subsequent vanquishing by the Taliban ... that Michael Griffin describes in his splendid book.' The New Statesman 'We would recommend this book to anyone seeking the truth about what has happened in Afghanistan.' Socialist Appeal 'Reaping the Whirlwind is an intelligent, often colourfully written account of one of today's most feared and poorly understood organisations.' Ham & High 'Michael Griffin has produced a detailed and heavily reserached book which meticulously charts all the different Afghanistan factions, their relationships, thier victories and defeats ... Reaping the Whirlwind is well worth reading.' Marxist Review 'The book is densely packed ... Those interested in an interpretation of the complexity of the movement will not be disappointed.' Global Review of Ethnopolitics 'A fascinating exploration of the rise of the Taliban movement.' Outlook 'Michael Griffin has written a book for our times. It bulges with facts that are elegantly inscribed in an analysis that is actute and imaginative.' India Weekly