17.06.2008 / Descent into Chaos

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the crisis in Pakistan are only the beginning. Rashid assesses what her death means for the region and the future. Rashid has unparalleled access to the figures in this global drama, and provides up-to-the-minute analysis better than anyone else. Descent Into Chaos will do for Central Asia what Thomas Rick’s Fiasco did for Iraq — offer a blistering critique of the Bush administration and an impassioned call to correct our failed strategy in the region.


The Taliban And Extremism In Modern Day Afghanistan And Pakistan

Pakistan, the United States volatile mistress in its continued “War on Terror, ” grew more tempestuous and unpredictable this week with the sudden and unexpected resignation of our former “ally” and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf due to impeachment pressure initiated by the new coalition government.

Ayesha Jalal – Outlook, India

One of the most respected journalists in Pakistan today, Ahmad Rashid made an international splash in 2001 with his book, Taliban. His third book in seven years has a ponderous title, portending an apocalypse. Packed with new and up-to-date information, it is actually an impassioned plea for coordinated international action to avert total chaos in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

BBC News

Journalist Ahmed Rashid’s new book Descent Into Chaos is an investigation into what he describes as the “failure of nation building” in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia and the threat from radical Islam.

Pamela Constable – Washington Post

In Descent into Chaos, Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid lays out the policies, prejudices and plots that sabotaged those hopes. His title may seem melodramatic, but it becomes less so with each new report of suicide bombings, drug trafficking and U.S. casualties in Afghanistan, as well as of militant attacks and creeping Talibanization in Pakistan.

Harry Forestell – CBC News

CBC’s Around the World host Harry Forestell had an opportunity recently to sit down with Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore who writes for several newspapers including the Daily Telegraph and The Washington Post.

Roger Gathman – Special To The American-Statesman

Ahmed Rashid’s ‘Descent into Chaos’: terrifying The ‘Taliban’ author’s latest book details the betrayals and confusions fuleing the endless war in Afghanistan By Roger Gathman

Anjum Niaz – The News

The writer is a freelance journalist with over twenty years of experience in national and international reporting

If we think the militants will quietly retreat into their holes after the military mows them down, then we are big fools. When I say “we” I mean the ordinary Pakistanis. As I sit down to begin this column, the walls of my house shake and the window panes tremble.

Philip Bowring – Asia Sentinel, Hongkong

Lahore-based Ahmed Rashid has been writing fearlessly and with much sense about events in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the neighborhood for 20 years. Unfortunately not too many of the policymakers in either the US or Pakistan have read his accounts, let alone learned from them.

Sameer Rahim – Daily Telegraph.co.uk, UK

One month into the US and coalition attack on Afghanistan – launched in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 – President Bush gave the world an ultimatum: “Over time it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity, ” he said. “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.”

Muhammad Ali Siddiqi – DAWN

SOME authors have opinion, no facts; some have facts, no opinion. Ahmad Rashid has both, and that is why his views carry weight. His thesis, borne out of decades of first-hand knowledge of ‘the region’, is shocking but true: the region was ‘lost’ the day America chose to abandon Afghanistan and invade Iraq.

The Economist

AHMED RASHID has enjoyed mixed fortunes. His first great adventure-heading off from Cambridge University in 1971 to join a guerrilla war in Baluchistan-did not end well. But in 1979 he was in Kabul when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and this was a stroke of luck.

Quentin Peel – Financial Times FT.com

In October 2001, just weeks after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, most of the world was united in backing US military action against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and its allies in al-Qaeda. It was seen as a justified response to the terrible destruction of the World Trade Center in New York.

Vijay Prashad – Frontline

NEWS comes almost daily from Afghanistan about the tenuous nature of the state run by Hamid Karzai’s tattered coalition backed by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Karzai’s writ runs barely beyond the outskirts of Kabul, which has itself been turned into an architectural monstrosity, equal parts slum, NGOland and warlord kitsch.

Paula Newberg – Globe and Mail, Canada

Just 24 days after Sept. 11, 2001, a Western-led offensive sent the Taliban running from Kabul – although not very far, as it turned out – and began the excruciating processes of reconstructing the failed Afghan state, stabilizing the conflicted regions of South and Central Asia, and re-equilibrating their relationships with the West.

Soutik Biswas – Hindustan Times

First, a reality check of our troubled neighbourhood. June was the deadliest month for foreign troops in Afghanistan – the second month in a row in which their casualties exceeded those in Iraq. Nato says more than 900 people, including civilians, have died since the beginning of this year.

Jane Perlez – International Herald Tribune

Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban, who until 9/11 knew them better than almost any outsider, has over the decades turned out to be something of a prophet in the region, though mostly of the Cassandra type.

Kim Sengupta – Independent.co.uk

When journalists flocked to Afghanistan in 2001, many of us were clutching Ahmed Rashid’s book on the Taliban: an invaluable insight into the regime which at the time had little outside exposure, and was now about to be toppled.

Michael Fathers – New Statesman, London

The policy failures of Nato and the United States have left Afghanistan and Pakistan dangerously unstable, argues Ahmed Rashid. And any solution will be difficult as long as Pakistan’s army and military intelligence continue to support the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Jason Burke – Observer

Standing watching the bombs falling at Tora Bora in Afghanistan in December 2001, a fellow journalist turned to me and commented that ‘only fiction, only a great novel’ could make sense of the extraordinary scenes we were witnessing and of the astonishing events of the first four months of the war on terror.

Janice Kennedy – The Ottawa Citizen

The respected Pakistani journalist, whose previous books have educated the western world in the ways and ramifications of Islamic extremism, concludes Descent into Chaos with the fervent wish that the global community learn from the mistakes it has made in Afghanistan and the nations surrounding that woefully failed state.

Jane Perlez – New York Times

FRESH out of Cambridge University in the late 1960s, and steeped in the era’s favorites – Marx, Mao and Che – Ahmed Rashid took off for the hills of Baluchistan, a dry, tough patch of western Pakistan. He stayed for 10 years.

Max Hastings – The Sunday Times

Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist of the highest narrative and analytical gifts, is baffled by the West’s almost demented indifference and folly towards Afghanistan and his own country.

Alan Philps – The National, UAE

Ahmed Rashid, a best-selling author, fears the next nine months in Afghanistan will be ‘the grimmest in the region since 2001′. Jonathan Player for The National

London // The West should be prepared for a “debacle” in Afghanistan in the coming months as the resurgent Taliban seek to take advantage of George W Bush’s lame duck status, says a leading Pakistani observer.

Justin Marozzi – The Scotsman

JUDGED AS A WAY OF BANKRUPTing the American empire as quickly as possible, the US-led war on terror has been a striking success. Viewed as an effective response to the new challenges posed by global Islamist terrorism, it has been a spectacular failure.

Richard Beeston – The Times

THE UNIFORMS HAD been pressed, the boots polished and the soldiers drilled when President Hamid Karzai took his place on the podium to receive the salute from the Afghan honour guard.

Salial Tripathi – Tehelka

Interviewing a former colleague is an odd feeling, but Pakistani writer Ahmed Rashid is not an ordinary former colleague. He’s one of the finest chroniclers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

Olivia Ward – TheStar.com, Toronto

Pakistan, in a spiralling political crisis, faces by-elections many hoped would strengthen the turbulent country’s transition from military to civilian rule.

Spencer Ackerman – Washington Independent

As U.S. casualties continue to climb in Afghanistan, an American public distracted by the war in Iraq can be forgiven for wondering: what happened? How did a war that seemed won in late 2001, just months after the Oct. 7, 2001 air campaign against the Taliban, suffer this sharp reversal fortune in less than seven years?

Barnett R. Rubin – Informed Comment: Global Affairs Blog

Ahmed Rashid, the Pakistani author of Taliban (the largest selling university press book since the invention of movable type) has published a new book, taking up the story of Afghanistan, its region, and the U.S. where he left off.

Shashi Tharoor – The Times of India

In the fall of 2002, the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid could be seen and heard at every significant podium and office in New York and Washington. Ostensibly in the US to promote a book, Rashid spent most of his time making an impassioned plea to every influential American who would listen: don’t take your eye off the ball in Afghanistan.

Pakistan Daily

The popular news reporting from Pakistan is limited, even more so than that coming from Afghanistan, which is even more limited than that from Iraq, in turn now becoming more limited as attention is directed towards Iran.

Back to Home
All Content of this website is the property of AHMED RASHID unless stated otherwise. Copyright © Ahmed Rashid 2024. All rights Reserved.