The United States and the Turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan


Ahmed Rashid, as characterized by noted journalist Christopher Hitchens, is “Pakistan’s best and bravest reporter.” Rashid’s unique knowledge of this vast and complex region allows him a panoramic vision and nuance that no western writer can emulate. His book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, first introduced American readers to the brutal regime that hijacked Afghanistan and harbored the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks. In Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, Rashid returns to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia to review the catastrophic aftermath of America’s failed war on terror. He has shown himself to be a voice of reason amid the chaos of present-day Central Asia. Descent into Chaos is his blistering critique of American policy—a dire warning and an impassioned call to correct these disasterous strategies before these failing states threaten global stability and bring devastation to our world. Rashid’s latest book, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, examines the possibilities and hazards facing America as it withdraws from Afghanistan and as it reviews its long engagement in Pakistan. Rashid examines the region and the corridors of power in Washington and Europe to see how the promised nation building in these countries has progressed. His conclusions are devastating: An unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan, a renewed al-Qaeda profiting from a booming opium trade, and a Taliban resurgence and reconquest. While Iraq continues to attract most of American media and military might, Rashid argues that Pakistan and Afghanistan are where the conflict will finally be played out and that these failing states pose a graver threat to global security than the Middle East. This book summarizes his comments to an audience at UC Berkeley on these same topics.

Ahmed Rashid
Publication date: 
November 23, 2012
Publication type: 
National Security