Afghanistan: The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Mass Mobilization, Civil War, Ant the Future of the Region / Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban

By Bradsher, Henry S. | The Middle East Journal, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

Afghanistan: The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Mass Mobilization, Civil War, Ant the Future of the Region / Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban


Bradsher, Henry S., The Middle East Journal


The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Mass Mobilization, Civil War, and the Future of the Region, by Neamatollah Nojumi. New York: Palgrave, 2002. xii + 231 pages. Chron. Abbrevs. Notes to p. 247. Bibl. to p. 251. Index to p. 260. $65 cloth; $18.95 paper.

Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban, by Larry P. Goodson. Seattle, WA and London, UK: University of Washington Press, 2001. xv + 188 pages. Appendix to p. 193. Notes to p. 227. Gloss. to p. 236. Refs. to p. 253. Index to p. 264. $35 cloth; $22.50 paper.

Reviewed by Henry S. Bradsher

During the period between the end of direct Soviet involvement in Afghanistan in February 1989 and the beginning of an American military role there in October 2001, the outside world occasionally noted with dismay Taliban practices. Mostly, the country was ignored. These two books offer understandings of Afghanistan's situation in the 1990s. Both are useful; each gives a new perspective on some aspects of the country's long turmoil. But the misfortune of publishing before that turmoil had drastically changed at the end of 2001, with the changes revealing new aspects of what had been happening, limits the books' value for comprehending the overall situation between the Communist and post-Taliban periods. Although both titles promise to relate the "rise of the Taliban," neither provides a clear, comprehensive account of this point of major interest in recent Afghan history.

Nojumi identifies himself as having been a mujahideen fighter against the Soviets for more than a decade (p. xii). He attempts to explain Afghan changes within a "theory of mass mobilization." This is strained, and his comparisons with mobilization in Mao's China and Gandhi's India show inadequate understanding of either country. Nojumi concludes that neither Afghan Communists nor mujahideen organizations "was able to form a political institution that represented the national interest of the Afghan people" (p. x), but his explanation is more disjointed than clear.

The most valuably original part of his book is the account of internal resistance forces and their political struggles, a subject neglected by numerous books that focus on Peshawar-based resistance leaders. He describes efforts by "internal front leaders" to coordinate their activities as "one of the most significant political developments among the Afghan Mujahideen" (p. 106). However, Nojumi notes, this made Pakistani and Saudi intelligence services nervous: "After their vast involvement and investment in Afghanistan, any development out of their channel of command and control would jeopardize their interest in Afghanistan" (p. 108). The Saudis and Pakistanis worked to undermine coordination of internal commanders. Nojumi blames misjudgment by guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Mas `ud of the political situation as the Najibullah regime collapsed in April 1992 for the failure to establish a broader-based government. Such a government might have avoided the civil war that devastated the capital and led to Taliban control.

Nojumi seeks to explain how the inability of the internal forces and mujahideen to represent national interests related to Pakistan's manipulation of mujahideen politics to serve its own national purposes. Although Nojumi relates this story in disconnected bits of information, he nonetheless concludes, accurately, that: "The external interference of neighboring countries, especially Pakistan, in supporting the most fanatic elements of Afghan society suppressed the moderate and democratic political forces... Afghan local communities have not had the chance to express their will" (p. 230). And, basic to understanding the problem with some Pakistani-backed mujahideen groups and the Taliban, "Islamic fundamentalism was a politically motivated force that did not have roots in the social and cultural fabric of Afghanistan" (p. 217).

An epilogue - added by Nojumi after September 11, 2001, but before the Taliban collapsed due to Pakistan's withdrawal of support - rehashes themes of the book while giving new attention to Al Qaeda's role during the Taliban period. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Afghanistan: The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Mass Mobilization, Civil War, Ant the Future of the Region / Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.