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Cover image for Reaping the whirlwind : the Taliban movement in Afghanistan
Reaping the whirlwind : the Taliban movement in Afghanistan
Other title(s):
Taliban movement in Afghanistan

Publication Information:
London ; Sterling, Va. : Pluto Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxi, 283 pages : map ; 23 cm
The killing of Najibullah -- City of night -- Warriors of God -- Mission to cleanse -- Burning down the house -- The Zahir option -- The river between -- The new emirates -- Nest of vipers -- Oblivion's feast -- Hostages -- Ignoble grave -- A fistful of dollars -- Satellites and stars -- The bicycle thieves -- Mr Sam & the food and beverage industry.
Chronicles the rise of the Taliban from their first appearance in 1994, examines their place in the context of Afghanistan's political instability, and discusses the significance of their brand of Islamic fundamentalism.


Call Number
958.104 Griffin 2001

On Order



Investigative journalist Michael Griffin paints the fullest picture yet of the Taliban movement -- its origins, beliefs, religious and political ethos, and its particular brand of fundamentalism.

Author Notes

Michael Griffin is a widely-travelled freelance writer and journalist. He has worked as an information consultant for UNICEF in Afghanistan

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Investigative reporter Griffin, news editor for the Index on Censorship, approaches recent Afghan history through local and international news reports in an effort to understand who the Taliban are and how they see their role in Afghanistan and in the Islamic world. And, because Afghanistan has long figured importantly in other countries' strategies, Griffin explores the roles of the U.S., Russia and other states of the former USSR, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, and China in Afghanistan's continuing unrest. Griffin's narrative covers five years, from the Taliban's initial appearance in the southern city of Kandahar in 1994 through the 1999 military coup in Pakistan. The focus of his study is the Taliban, but that movement's rise cannot be explained without analyzing its context, including the cultural changes Soviet-supported Afghan governments attempted to impose and the corrupt quasi governments established by ex-mujahedin warlords in much of the country after the Soviets left. Those who consider central Asia a vital region and judge the Taliban's brand of fundamentalism a significant (and perhaps threatening) political force will appreciate Griffin's thoroughness. --Mary Carroll

Choice Review

Griffin, a freelance writer, provides a comprehensive exposition of the political conflict in Afghanistan since 1979, with special emphasis on the Taliban Movement from its inception in 1994 to its consolidation of power in 1999. Griffin situates the Taliban Movement in its larger political context, where the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan are key players. He describes how these countries have contributed to the political and ethnic instability of Afghanistan and how their direct and indirect support of self-serving politicians and rival warlords is a major actor in prolonging the "civil" war. As the book makes clear, the economic stakes in the region are high: Central Asia--especially the Caspian Basin--is rich in oil and gas. The Taliban (who get their name from the religious students, or taliban, who were the movement's first recruits) have so far managed to impose a harsh, Islamic retrogressive rule on a demoralized and war-weary citizenry; their success, however, has brought neither peace nor prosperity. Griffin helps us to understand the complexity of current Afghan political culture. All collections. A. Rassam CUNY Queens College

Table of Contents

Mapp. viii
List of Abbreviationsp. ix
Chronologyp. xi
Prefacep. xix
1. The Killing of Najibullahp. 1
2. City of Nightp. 17
3. Warriors of Godp. 33
4. Mission to Cleansep. 53
5. Burning Down the Housep. 69
6. The Zahir Optionp. 85
7. The River Betweenp. 101
8. The New Emiratesp. 114
9. Nest of Vipersp. 128
10. Oblivion's Feastp. 141
11. Hostagesp. 157
12. Ignoble Gravep. 174
13. A Fistful of Dollarsp. 194
14. Satellites and Starsp. 211
15. The Bicycle Thievesp. 225
16. Mr Sam and the Food and Beverage Industryp. 239
Principal Charactersp. 253
Notesp. 258
Indexp. 278