Silk Road Books & Photos

The Taliban (Page 1 of 2)


Abdul Salam Zaeef (Author), Alex Strick van Linschoten (Editor), Felix Kuehn

My Life With the Taliban [Hardcover]




Biography of Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan during 2001. Zaeef details his early childhood when both his parents died before 1979 and then the Soviets invaded and he was forced to live in a refugee camp in Baluchistan where there were fights with the local Baluch children who resented the Afghan new comers. Zaeef joined the Mujahideen and was disappointed with the lack of Islamic education and drug use prevalent in some of the units he worked in. So he joined the Taliban, an independent band of fighters who learned about Islam, which they practised and fought the Soviets. Zaeef explains why the Taliban was re-activated in 1994 to fight local commanders, one in particular would humiliate locals who used the road by demanding bribes and raping whoever he wanted to. This notorious commander was ambushed and killed and behind his checkpoint were discovered two dead Herati women whose bodies were badly bruised and naked. The other oppressive commanders were then dealt with until the more humane commanders threw in their lot with the Taliban and finished off the remaining thugs in Kandahar City which fell to the Taliban in 1994. Zaeef describes the complex relationship with Pakistan. In Pakistan as ambassador, Zaeef found that Afghans were being robbed by the Pakistani Police. On one occasion an Afghan Tribal elder coming to visit Zaeef was robbed, so Zaeef took the tribal elder who identified the Policeman in question and Zaeef physically took the criminal Policeman to the Pakistani Civil Servants to report this man’s behaviour. Zaeef was puzzled to find the civil servants felt that Zaeef had interfered in the internal affairs of Pakistan. The Pakistani Interior Minister named Haider simply explained to Zaeef that Pakistani citizens suffered the same fate as the Afghan Tribal leader at the hands of the notoriously criminally inclined Pakistani ‘Police’. Zaeef informed the Minister that control needed to be exercised to ensure compliance with the law, which of course was something the Taliban succeeded in doing after largely vanquishing the Warlords from 95 percent of Afghan territory before 9/11.Strangely for Zaeef the Pakistani authorities had no inclination to exercise any control over their Police subordinates but simply accepted the perverse actions of the Police as a given fact of life.

After 9/11 Zaeef attempted to seek asylum in Pakistan, his diplomatic immunity was not respected and he was handed over to US troops who stripped him naked and these Americans physically abused him on Pakistani territory, in full view of Pakistani soldiers before putting him on a plane bound for a secret detention facility in Afghanistan. Zaeef was then sent to Guatanamo where the Americans repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to offer inducements to Zaeef to become their agent and this is in fact a common thread in many other Guatanamo accounts. Zaeef was later released after 4 years detention and sent back to Afghanistan where the US officials insisted on visiting him uninvited in Zaeef’s Kabul home and Zaeef had to ask them to leave. The US official asked in a naive and incredulous tone “Why do you hate us so much!”  Hardcover: 360 pages  Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd; 1st edition (1 Feb 2010).

Signed:£25 or Unsigned: £14


Fergusson, James




Silk Road Books Review
Hard back in mint dust wrapper SIGNED by Author 2010 publication. The author details the Taliban movement’s record and how they have been demonised. For example hardly anyone is aware of the fact that the Taliban had a girls school teaching 7,000 girls in Kabul. The reason why other girls were not taught was lack of money, which was a prime problem for the Taliban who were subject to International sanctions and this forced the Taliban into their financial dependency with Al Qaeda. The Taliban wanted single sex schools only because they did not want sexual harassment taking place or sexual promiscuity. The author highlights the dynamism of the Taliban and their new blue book giving guidance to the Taliban on do’s and don’ts on interacting with the civilian population produced at about the same time as McChrystal was issuing guidance to his occupation forces along similar lines. Fergusson is a brave journalist who has made numerous trips behind American lines with the Taliban as drones flew overhead and finds that Al Qaeda is no longer present in Afghanistan. Fergusson notes that Pashtuns do not like foreigners whether of the infidel or Muslim variety and Al Qaeda as foreigners were not welcome. The Taliban ulema were split on the decision as to whether to send Bin Laden to the Americans half were in favour and the other half thought it would be a breach of Pashtun hospitality request. to do so. Therefore due to this even split in opinion it was decided that Afghanistan would not send Bin Laden to the Americans in accordance with the Bush demands. The Taliban were however happy to place Bin Laden on trial if the US supplied relevant evidence of complicity in terrorism but the Americans did not comply with this request.

Signed:£25 Unsigned: £16


Maley William

Fundamentalism Reborn Afghanistan and the Taliban



Articles by N H Dupree, Oliver Roy and Anthony Hyman. Hardback 1998 reprint with pictorial cover. A very perceptive account by leading authors on the Taliban movement.



Rashid, Ahmed

The Taliban

Hardback in dustwrapper Pakistani reprint.



Gannon, Kathy

I is for Infidel


The author was a close friend of Hamid Karzai and Wali Karzai, she works for Walim Karzai in Kandahar and describes her growing disenchantment with the Karzai’s allocation of corrupt people to key jobs in Kandahar and Kabul. From Holy War to holy Terror: 18 years inside Afghanistan. Journalist highlights the links between Bin Laden and the Northern Alliance which invited the latter back to Afghanistan in 1995. The failure of the Taliban to appreciate the consequences of killing Najib who, though a war criminal, was rather oddly under UN protection. The UN punishment of the Taliban by failing to supply aid and assistance to Afghanistan despite the ending of poppy cultivation under the Taliban. The perverse current situation with increase in Poppy production and restoration of UN assistance. The author also highlights the links between the resurgent Taliban and the ISI. Mint in hardback with dw. 1st edition 2005. 186 pages. A good insider account of someone who has spent many years on the ground in a country she loves and knows a lot about.




Taliban Ascent to Power

172 pages 2001 OUP Pakistan hardback in dustwrapper.                                                         £15


Magnus, Ralph H and Naby, Eden

Afghanistan Mullah, Marx and Mujahid

West view Press Inc. First Edition 1997 Mint condition. As a result of the Soviet invasion in December 1989, Afghanistan - a centre for great-power rivalry a century earlier - once more has become an arena for the struggle for domination both among the powers of the region and among the superpowers. Despite the expectations of many that Afghanistan would soon disappear into the Soviet colonial empire after the invasion, the Afghan people have continued to fight against Soviet domination. This introductory volume on Afghanistan details the factors inherent in the country's physical situation, human environment and modern history that have led to its contemporary tragedy. Out of this tragedy, out of their national and religious resistance, the country seems to be forging a new definition of nationhood from the mosaic of peoples within its borders. The current conflict has highlighted major strengths of Afghanistan's national experience (the importance of independence and freedom, a respect for tradition coupled with a desire for progress, and above all a deep faith in God) and major weaknesses, caused by personal rivalries and group conflicts. After assessing the extent to which these strengths and weaknesses affect Afghanistan's economic, political and cultural reality, the book concludes by considering various possible scenarios for the country's future.



Marsden, Peter

The Taliban

197 pages soft cover Zed Books OUP, 1999.



Antonio Giustozzi

Empires of Mud: Wars and Warlords in Afghanistan (Hardcover)

An analysis of how warlords emerged to control parts of Afghan national territory, how this changed with the emergence of the Taliban and the 2001 foreign invasion. Hardcover: 320 pages, C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (30 Oct 2009).


Antonio Giustozzi

Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007 [Paperback]

This book reviews the development of the Taliban insurgency and how support for the Taliban increased post 2001 as the Occupation forces inflicted civilian casualties and re-installed hated warlords. The book further reviews the capacity of the Taliban vis a vis the occupation forces and the  Afghan ‘National’ Army.
Paperback: 176 pages  Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (26 Oct 2007).