Abbas is a Pakistani academic based in the United States who previously worked as a police officer in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. His books seeks to answer a basic question: Why did the Afghan Taliban rebound after U.S.-led forces defeated them in 2001–2? His answers spare none of the region’s main players: there is plenty of blame to go around. Abbas’ clear and convincing analysis also shows how the Afghan Taliban differ from Taliban groups based in Pakistan and how all those groups fit into the not-so-Great Game played by India, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Still, although the book is thoughtful and well written, it offers little new information. Abbas concludes with a number of recommendations for how Afghanistan can avoid sliding back into chaos: strengthen the criminal justice system, find ways to generate more revenue for the central government, engage extremists in dialogue, decentralize authority, and promote religious harmony.
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