The Taliban Revival

The Taliban Revival

Great book by a great author on the Taliban. A must for anyone who wants to understand more about the issues in this part of the world and how it affects the U.S. It also reveals the failures of the U.S. on many levels which is also necessary for understanding this region and its people.

- Dan Wilson

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About the Book

In autumn 2001, U.S. and NATO troops were deployed to Afghanistan to unseat the Taliban rulers, repressive Islamic fundamentalists who had lent active support to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda jihadists. The NATO forces defeated and dismantled the Taliban government, scattering its remnants across the country. But despite a more than decade-long attempt to eradicate them, the Taliban endured—regrouping and reestablishing themselves as a significant insurgent movement. Gradually they have regained control of large portions of Afghanistan even as U.S. troops are preparing to depart from the region.

In his authoritative and highly readable account, author Hassan Abbas examines how the Taliban not only survived but adapted to their situation in order to regain power and political advantage. Abbas traces the roots of religious extremism in the area and analyzes the Taliban’s support base within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In addition, he explores the roles that Western policies and military decision making—not to mention corruption and incompetence in Kabul—have played in enabling the Taliban’s return to power.

Genres: History of Afghanistan, History of Central Asia, History of Pakistan
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: Yale University Press (June 24, 2014)
Publication Year: June 24, 2014
For those interested in security matters in Afghanistan and Pakistan - and that should include our Pentagon, State Department and White House - Dr. Abbas is a national security treasure. While I do not know him personally, his book about the Taliban revival is that rare combination of deep geopolitical expertise and clear English narrative. For the reader, he begins by posing a mystery: how could the Taliban, thoroughly defeated physically and psychologically in 2001, regain power and fight to a standstill in American military that invested hundreds of billions of dollars and 100,000 well-trained troops? Dr. Abbas then proceeds, chapter by chapter, to solve the mystery by educating the reader in the complicated post-1960s histories of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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About the Author
Dr. Hassan Abbas

Dr. Hassan Abbas is Professor of International Security Studies & Chair of the Department of Regional and Analytical Studies at the National Defense University in Washington DC. He is also a senior advisor and Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in New York working on the U.S. relations with South and Central Asia. Dr. Abbas held the Distinguished Quaid-i-Azam Chair at the South Asia Institute at Columbia University from 2009-11. Previous to that he was a Senior Advisor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, after having been a Research Fellow at the Belfer Center from 2005 to 2009. He is also a non-resident Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), Michigan, and an Associate of the Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU), University of Bradford, in the United Kingdom. He received his Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and an LL.M. in International Law from Nottingham University, United Kingdom, where he was a Britannia Chevening Scholar (1999). Dr. Abbas also remained a fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School (2002-2003) and as a visiting scholar at the Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation (2003-2004).

His research interests are politics and security issues in South West Asia; and relations between Muslims and the West. His recent publication include 'Stabilizing Pakistan Through Police Reforms' and 'Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future' both available at His book, Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America's War on Terror (M.E. Sharpe) has been on bestseller lists in India and Pakistan and was widely reviewed internationally, including by the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Far Eastern Economic Review, The Hindu, and Dawn. He has also appeared as an analyst on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, Al-Jazeera, and PBS, and as a political commentator on VOA and BBC. He runs WATANDOST, which is a blog on Pakistan and its neighbors' related affairs.

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