Academic journal article Military Review

KORAN, KALASHNIKOV, AND LAPTOP: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan

Academic journal article Military Review

KORAN, KALASHNIKOV, AND LAPTOP: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan

Article excerpt

KORAN, KALASHNIKOV, AND LAPTOP: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan, Antonio Giustozzi, Columbia University Press, New York, 2008, 259 pages, $24.95.

With his book Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop, Antonio Giustozzi has produced the definitive volume on the resurgent Taliban for policymakers, diplomats, and military leaders involved in the ongoing Afghanistan conflict. It is a must-read given its insights into the workings of this resilient and dangerous insurgent force.

Giustozzi provides an in-depth look at Neo-Taliban insurgentstheir strategy, organization, tactics, and the reasons for their successful revival. He details the role Pakistan plays with the Taliban and in Afghan politics, and highlights the efforts and shortcomings of the Afghan government and its foreign allies. Buttressed by impeccable research and analysis, largely done on the ground in Afghanistan with personal interviews, Giustozzi demonstrates that the return of the Taliban has as much to do with its own efforts as it does with the policy failures of the Afghan regime and its U.S. and foreign allies.

Giustozzi posits that the weakness of state administration is a key factor in the delegitimization of the Karzai government in the eyes of the local population. This failing, coupled with excessive tribal-based government patronage and intense corruption among the Afghan police and military forces, has alienated large segments of the population and provided a breach for the Taliban to penetrate. …

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