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Ahmed Rashid, who masterfully explained Afghanistan's Taliban regime in his previous book, here turns his skills as an investigative journalist to the five Central Asian republics adjacent to Afghanistan- Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyztan, and Tajikistan.
Also by Ahmed Rashid: Taliban
For more than two thousand years, Central Asia has been a locus of conflict. Great empires of the past fought to control the Silk Route, which ran through the region; more recently, nations have battled over the vast oil reserves that lie beneath it. Now Central Asia presents important strategic opportunities for international security, but also poses new threats because of the swift rise of militant Islamic fundamentalism over the past decade.
Under Soviet Rule, Islam was brutally suppressed, and that intolerance has continued with the post-Soviet regimes. Religious repression, political corruption, and the region's extreme poverty have created a fertile climate for militant Islamic fundamentalism. Funded and trained by organizations such as Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda and the Taliban, guerrilla movements like the IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) have recruited a staggering number of members and launched insurgencies that threaten the stability of all five nations.
Based on groundbreaking research and numerous interviews, Jihad explains the roots of fundamentalist rage in Central Asia, describes the goals and activities of these militant organizations, and suggests ways this threat can be neutralized in the future through diplomatic and economic intervention.
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"For many years now, Ahmed Rashid has been the journalistic interpreter of the changing nature of Islam in Central Asia. He has always been ahead of the curve, and America's war on terrorism makes his new book more important than ever."
Robert D. Kaplan, author of Warrior Politics
"An amazing, comprehensive, learned, and very frightening book. Ahmed Rashid has, once again, provided unique insight and analysis of an explosive region and given all of us the ability to understand its contemporary crises."
Fred Halliday, London School of Economics
"Jihad is but the latest of Ahmed Rashid's insightful books on religion and politics in South and Central Asia. It would be welcome at any time but is critical reading today. A must read for policymakers, scholars, the media, and informed citizens."
John L. Esposito, author of The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?
"A very valuable and readable account of important and little understood events. Ahmed Rashid's unique experience of reporting from the ground and of reporting from Afghanistan, as well as his knowledge of his own country, Pakistan, make him uniquely qualified to write this book."
Barnett R. Rubin, author of The Fragmentation of Afghanistan
In tracing the history of Central Asia and explaining the current political climate, Rashid demonstrates that it is a region we overlook at our peril.