The longest war the United States has ever fought is the ongoing war in Afghanistan. But when we speak of “Afghanistan,” we really mean a conflict that straddles the border with Pakistan–and the reality of Islamic militancy on that border is enormously complicated.
In Talibanistan, an unparalleled group of experts offer a nuanced understanding of this critical region. Edited by Peter Bergen, author of the bestselling books The Longest War and The Osama Bin Laden I Know, and Katherine Tiedemann, these essays examine in detail the embattled territory from Kandahar in Afghanistan to Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. They pull apart the distinctions between the Taliban and al Qaeda–and the fractures within each movement; assess the effectiveness of American and Pakistani counterinsurgency campaigns; and explore the pipeline of militants into and out of the war zone.
Throughout, these scrupulously researched studies challenge convenient orthodoxies. Counter terrorism expert Brian Fishman criticizes the customary distinction between an Afghan and Pakistani Taliban as being too neat to describe their fragmented reality. Hassan Abbas paints a subtle portrait of the political and religious forces shaping the insurgency in the Northwest Frontier Province, uncovering poor governance, economic distress, and resentment of foreign troops in nearby Afghanistan. And Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann try to identify the real numbers of drone strikes and victims, both militants and civilians, while disputing claims for their strategic effectiveness.
These and other essays provide profound new insight into this troubled region. They are required reading for anyone seeking a fresh understanding of a central strategic challenge facing the United States today.
Peter Bergen is the director of the National Securities Studies Program at the New America Foundation, and is National Security Analyst at CNN. He is the author of The Longest War and The Osama Bin Laden I Know.
Katherine Tiedemann, co-editor, was a research fellow at the New America Foundation until mid-2011. She is the deputy editor of the AfPak Channel on Foreign Policy.com, where she writes the AfPak Daily Brief, a daily synthesis of the news from and about Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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Talibanistan: Negotiating the Borders Between Terror, Politics, and Religion
Published on Jan 9, 2013
Negotiating the Borders Between Terror, Politics, and Religion
The longest war the United States has ever fought is the ongoing war in Afghanistan. But when refer to “Afghanistan,” we really mean a conflict that straddles the border with Pakistan — and the reality of Islamic militancy on that border is enormously complicated. In Talibanistan, an unparalleled group of experts offer a nuanced understanding of this critical region.
Please join the New America Foundation’s National Security Studies Program for a conversation with some of these experts about the militancy and extremism that continue to plague Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan.
Col. Thomas Lynch III
Colonel-Retired, U.S. Army
Distinguished Research Fellow, National Defense University
Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow, New America Foundation
Senior Advisor, Asia Society
Professor, National Defense University
Philanthropic Engineer, Palantir Technologies
Counterterrorism Research Fellow, New America Foundation
Research Fellow, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation
President, Terror Free Tomorrow
Director, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation