Jihad The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia Ahmed Rashid
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- Publication date:
- 22 Jan 2002
- 272 pages: 210 x 140 x 32mm
- 3 maps
The terrorist attacks of September 11th have turned the world's attention to areas of the globe about which we know very little. Ahmed Rashid, who explored Afghanistan's Taliban regime in a previous work, here turns his skills as an investigative journalist to the five Central Asian republics adjacent to Afghanistan. Central Asia is coming to play a vital strategic role in the war on terrorism, but the region also poses new threats to global security. The five Central Asian republics - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - were part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991. Under Soviet rule, Islam was brutally suppressed, and that intolerance has continued under the post-Soviet regimes. Religious repression, political corruption, and the region's extreme poverty (unemployment rates exceed 80 percent in some areas) have created a fertile climate for militant Islamic fundamentalism. Often funded and trained by such organizations 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 across the region and threaten to topple the governments of all five nations. Based on research and numerous interviews, this text explains the roots of militant rage in Central Asia, describes the goals and activities of these militant organisations, and suggests ways in which this threat could be neutralised by diplomatic and economic intervention. Rich in both cultural heritage and natural resources - including massive oil reservoirs - Central Asia remains desperately poor and frighteningly volatile. In tracing the history of Central Asia and explaining the current political climate, Rashid demonstrates that it is a region we ignore at our peril.
Ahmed Rashid is a journalist based in Lahore. He is the Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and the Daily Telegraph. He also writes for the Wall Street Journal.
"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 "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 Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?
David C. Williams