This controversial first-hand account of Taliban rule from 1996-2001 is based on S. Iftikhar Murshed’s experiences as Pakistan’s special envoy to Afghanistan. His mandate was to help bring the Taliban and the Northern Alliance to the negotiating table, entailing shuttle missions – at times life-threatening – between the warring factions. Drawing on his close interaction with the leadership of both sides of the political divide, the author vividly brings to life the unfolding drama of a tragic struggle. His personal dealings with top-ranking international politicians and government officials, combined with a deep understanding of the region’s history, offers an informative and global perspective to the conflict, and provides a rare glimpse into the mindset of Afghanistan’s near neighbours as well as that of Russia, the United States and the United Nations.
The failure of the international community to constructively engage with the Taliban, the author argues, squandered a realistic opportunity to create stability in Afghanistan, with far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. The result was not only a perpetuation of the country’s endemic violence but an ominous intensification of global terrorism and Islamic religious extremism – a pressing concern which Murshed explores with authority and insight.
S. Iftikhar Murshed was a senior diplomat in the Foreign Service of Pakistan, serving as special envoy to Afghanistan from 1996-2000 and ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2000-2005. He is also a foreign policy analyst, poet and playwright.
– 336 pages with Illustrations
Published by Bennett & Bloom, 2006
Map of Afghanistan
1. The emergence of the Taliban
2. The sequential settlement formula
3. Recognition of the Taliban
4. The search for a political settlement, 1997-1998
5. The collapse of the Northern Alliance
6. The interested countries
7. The United Nations
8. Islam and the Taliban Images of key players
Text of Mulla Omar letter to President Clinton
Chronology of events up to the fall of Kabul