Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Decoding the New Taliban, Insights from the Afghan Field

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Decoding the New Taliban, Insights from the Afghan Field

Article excerpt

Decoding the New Taliban, Insights from the Afghan Field . Edited by Antonio Giustozzi. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. 420 pp. $32.

In his edited volume, Giustozzi, a fellow at the London School of Economics, has put together a timely and relevant collection of essays that advances the ongoing debate over what he terms the "main war of the early twentyfirst century."

Based on the firsthand experiences of many of its contributors, which include scholars, journalists, political consultants, and military strategists, Giustozzi provides a broad and varied perspective of Afghanistan and the Neo-Taliban, the next generation Taliban, who have resurged as a result of a prolonged U.S. and Western presence. The majority of the essays address the various provinces in Afghanistan and the complex nature of the relationship between the Neo-Taliban, the regional government, and the local population. Each essay provides a historical perspective on the emergence of the Taliban after the Soviet occupation and a nuanced picture of the nature of the insurgency as it currently exists.

As a collection, the essays paint a comprehensive picture of the Neo-Taliban, not as a unified organization but as a combination of disparate groups, which form a loosely coordinated network of criminals and ideologues. …

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