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Peter Marsden
The Taliban
Zed Books: London & New York 1999
Paperback, 176 Seiten.
ISBN 1-85649-522-1

The Taliban, following their takeover of all but the northern sliver of Afghanistan in 1996, have become rather notorious in the West for the severity of their imposition of religious law, particularly for ejecting women from all workplaces. No girls may be educated, so the Taliban order, until a proper Islamic school system is in place. So whence come the beliefs behind these policies and the people who hold them? Among the several positive attributes of Marsden's survey of recent Afghan history is his tracing of Taliban views to the ascetic Sunni Wahhabi movement in 1700s Arabia. The inheritors of Wahhabiism, the Saudis, supported the Taliban movement, but Marsden explains that it grew fast for reasons internal to Afghanistan - namely, the perceived corruption of the Mujahidin factions that fought the Soviets and the anarchy their infighting visited upon the country. Striving for objectivity, Marsden elucidates what the Taliban have done, the spectrum of opinion within the movement, and its tense relations with international aid agencies. This is the only book in print about the Taliban. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. (The author, Peter Marsden , March 9, 1999)

This book has received very positive reviews Reviews have appeared in the Saturday Guardian, the Observer, the Sunday Telegraph, the New Internationalist and Peace News among others. All have commented very positively on the clarity of the book and on its balance and objectivity (The publisher, Zed Books, London & New York , March 16, 1999)

"An in-depth and comprehensive study" (The Middle East)

This book explores what the Taliban stand for and the factors leading to their rapid rise. It describes the war which continues to afflict the Afghan people as well as the geo-political context and part played by certain powers in the region, and by the United States, in the Taliban's dramatic expansion. The author sets his account in the context of the modern history of Afghanistan and the complex mosaic of mujahidin movements which opposed the Soviet intervention. He looks beyond negative stereotypes of radical Islam to present the complicated character of Islamic revivalist movements. He confronts the issue of international responsibility in situations of chronic conflict brought on by external interference. And he presents the dilemmas faced by humanitarian agencies seeking to provide assistance in a difficult political and human rights context. Peter Marsden is Information Coordinator of the British Agencies Afghanistan Group and a Research Associate of Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford.

"This informative and readable guide to the labyrinth of contemporary Afghanistan is useful for both general readers and academics alike." (Library Journal)

"Provides Western policy makers with a less sensationalised and more objective account of the Taliban and how best to deal with them." (Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Director, The Muslim Institute, London in Impact International)

"Deserves attention as a first study of an Islamic phenomenon which is repressive in its social and racial policies, and as hostile to Western, as it is to Communist, values." ( Hugh Carless, former British Ambassador, The Guardian)
"Particularly good on the equivocal role played by the Americans." (The Sunday Telegraph)

"An objective and immensely informative account.... Highly recommended." ( Jonathan Fryer, The Liberator)

"An in-depth and comprehensive study." (The Middle East)

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Gordon Whitteridge
Charles Masson of Afghanistan - Explorer, Archaeologist, Numismatist and Intelligence Agent
Aris & Phillips: Warminster 1986.
Paperback, 192 Seiten, 18 Abbildungen davon 4 in Farbe (darunter auch der von den Taliban zerstörte Buddha von Bamian).
ISBN 974-8304-60-4


Charles Masson (1800-1853) was one of the most remarkable of British Explorers. A deserter from the Indian Army, he wandered, between 1827 and 1840, over the Punjab, Baluchistan and Afghanistan, penniless at first, usually alone and on foot. During his six years in Kabul he collected a vast quantity of coins which revealed hitherto unknownGraeco-Bactrian and Kushan monarchs - research which remains of prime importance today. He excavated a large number of Buddhist monuments, thereby laying the foundation upon which all subsequent archaeological work in Afghanistan has been based. This first biography draws from his unpublished papers and official records of the period. It sets the story of his adventures against the social and political history of his time and deals with Masson's unhappy relations with the government of British India as an intelligence agent and his opposition to their shift of policy towards Afghanistan.
Sir Gordon Whitteridge was H.M. Ambassador to Kabul between 1965 and 1968.

"Details aside, Sir Gordon puts us vastly in debt by providing Masson's first biography. From this start research may begin to clear up remaining obscurities, yet Masson's personality will probably always remain an enigma." (Bulletin of SOAS, London)

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