Cover image for The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan : mass mobilization, civil war, and the future of the region
The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan : mass mobilization, civil war, and the future of the region
Nojumi, Neamatollah.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Palgrave, 2002.
Physical Description:
xii, 260 pages ; 25 cm
Corporate Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS371.2 .N65 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
DS371.2 .N65 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This book describes the turbulent political history of Afghanistan from the communist upheaval of the 1970s through to the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001. It reviews the importance of the region to external powers and explains why warfare and instability have been endemic. The author analyses in detail the birth of the Taliban and the bloody rise to power of fanatic Islamists, including Osama bin Laden, in the power vacuum following the withdrawal of US aid. Looking forward, Nojumi explores the ongoing quest for a third political movement in Afghanistan - an alternative to radical communists or fanatical Islamists and suggests the support that will be neccessary from the international community in order for such a movement to survive.

Author Notes

NEAMATOLLAH NOJUMI, who was raised in Afghanistan, was a participant in the Mujahideen fight against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. A frequent speaker on the politics of Afghanistan, he has appeared on or consulted with major television news shows. He is currently at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, MA.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nojumi, a former member of the Mujahadeen who fought the Soviet invasion and a contributor to humanitarian efforts to help displaced Afghans, offers a committed but often barely intelligible attempt to explain the historical, political and cultural circumstances behind the Taliban's ascent to power. The author, who was raised in Afghanistan, describes how decades of war and foreign interference eroded the traditional relationship between an Afghani central government and the local tribal councils, or jirgas, destroyed an economy based on agricultural production and "watered the seeds of Islamic radicalism." Afghan citizens initially greeted the Taliban with hope, he writes, but "many quickly lost their hope in the dusty field of [its] militaristic, ethnic, and religious ultra-supremacy approach"; the Taliban has paid no more attention to the country's "national ideology" than did the Marxist/Leninist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, whose 1978 coup led to the 1979 Soviet invasion. Nojumi's discussions of the phenomenon of mass mobilization which he defines as a political organization's efforts to induce broad social change weigh down his account with unnecessary and garbled attempts at theory. Such a complicated history cries out for a structure based on chronology and on narrative. Instead this text is so disorganized, so riddled with confusing or even meaningless sentences ( "Each event evolved and occurred because of previous events," for example) that most readers will find themselves too frustrated to keep going. Illus. not seen by PW. (Jan. 28) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

During the ten years (1979-88) of Soviet rule in Afghanistan, Nojumi was active in the mujahedin resistance, fighting for the return of independence to his native country. Now he is an independent scholar living near Boston. Here he has written a detailed account of the Soviet period plus the following years until the Taliban took effective control of the country in 1996. Drawing primarily on personal notes and diaries, he describes the events as a contest among the three forces of nationalism, Islam, and modernization and as a process of mass mobilization, which he believes is necessary to bring about political change. However, his theoretical framework is poorly explained, and his story frequently bogs down in the minutiae of thrust and parry of the long struggle for power. At this time, when the Taliban figure so prominently in the news, all libraries need something current on the topic; better choices would be Ahmed Rashid's Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (LJ 4/1/00) or Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban (New York Univ., 1998). Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This book has important positives and negatives. It is timely and authentic, for the author fought with the Afghan anti-Soviet mujahideen for ten years. And it is detailed, since Nojumi personally knew the principal resistance fighters and is intimately familiar with the physical and cultural geography of his homeland. On the other hand, this book could never be used in the classroom because of its dreadful syntax. One wonders if Palgrave assigned an editor to work with the author or just rushed the manuscript into print to take advantage of the moment. Although the book carries a 2002 copyright, the events of September 11 are mentioned only in an 11-page epilogue. The title is somewhat misleading, as more than half the book is devoted to the years before the Taliban existed. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are mentioned only in passing. Researchers willing to wade through this volume may find details unavailable elsewhere. The general reader would be far better off with Ahmed Rashid's Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (2001). Graduate students, researchers, and professionals. R. Marlay Arkansas State University

Table of Contents

Chronology of Eventsp. iv
List of Definitions and Abbreviationsp. v
Introductionp. ix
1. Historical Backgroundp. 1
2. The Theory of Mass Mobilizationp. 11
3. Traditional Political Systemp. 28
4. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistanp. 41
5. The Phenomena of Civil War in Afghanistanp. 60
6. Zonal Division of Afghanistanp. 78
7. The Afghan Mujahideen and Mass Mobilizationp. 83
8. The First Phase of Civil Warp. 95
9. The Formation of a Third Movementp. 105
10. Missing the Only Chancep. 110
11. The Rise of the Talibanp. 117
12. The Source of Taliban Forces in Afghanistanp. 125
13. Taliban Tactics and Strategiesp. 134
14. The Political Ideology of the Talibanp. 152
15. The Taliban Advance toward Mazar-e-Sharifp. 158
16. The Road into the Futurep. 171
17. Afghanistan in the International Systemp. 182
Conclusionp. 206
Epilogue: The Afghan Connection to September 11p. 220
Notesp. 232
Bibliographyp. 248
Indexp. 252