The Most Dangerous Place
The Most Dangerous Place
Pakistan's Lawless Frontier
By Imtiaz Gul
Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670022250, 320pp.
Publication Date: June 10, 2010
The story of the dark side of the Afghan war - and how Pakistan degenerated into a nuclear-armed powder keg
Eight years ago we chased the Taliban from Kabul and forced Al Qaeda to find a new home. One by one the militants crossed the border into Pakistan and settled in its tribal areas, building alliances with locals and terrorizing or bribing their way to power. This place - Pakistan's lawless frontier - is now the epicenter of global terrorism. It is where young American and British jihadists go to be trained, where the kidnapped are stowed away, and where plots are hatched for deadly attacks all over the world. It has become, in President Obama's words, "the most dangerous place" - a hornet's nest of violent extremists, many of whom now target their own state in vicious suicide- bombing campaigns.
Imtiaz Gul, who knows the ins and outs of these groups and their leaders, tackles the toughest questions about the current situation: What can be done to bring the Pakistani Taliban under control? Who funds these militants and what are their links to Al Qaeda? Are they still supported by the ISI, Pakistan's all-powerful intelligence agency?
Based on dozens of exclusive interviews with high-ranking Pakistani intelligence, government and military officers and extensive first-hand reporting, The Most Dangerous Place is a gripping and definitive exposé of a region that Americans need urgently to understand.
"A dense, timely study....Informational rather than didactic, Gul's insider take will serve as an excellent resource."
"Veteran Pakistani reporter Imtiaz Gul brings his deep knowledge and reporting to bear on one of the world's most opaque and under-reported places, Pakistan's tribal areas, the headquarters of Al Qaeda and key elements of the Taliban. Gul delivers a balanced account of the evolving relations that the Pakistani military, government and public have had with Pakistan's own militant groups. This book could not be more well timed as President Obama faces the most important foreign policy challenge of his presidency from the violent extremists who call this place their home."
-Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know
"Imtiaz Gul takes the reader into the lion's den - into Pakistan's tribal areas, the meanest, toughest region of the planet. He has a journalist's sharp eye for the personalities and conspiracy theories that are woven through this area. This is the best guide yet to understanding the fascinating, frightening place where Al Qaeda lives today."
-David Ignatius, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and author of Body of Lies
"One word comes to mind: indispensable. To understand the mess we're getting into in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, there's no better book out there."
-Robert Baer, bestselling author of See No Evil
"Gul offers an unparalleled inside view of the region where Al Qaeda lives and still thrives."
-Ahmed Rashid, bestselling author of Taliban and Descent into Chaos
"Imtiaz Gul has provided an invaluable service ... drawing together reporting and research on Pakistan's tribal areas and adding his own firsthand experience. A timely and important work."
-Jason Burke, author of Al-Qaeda and On the Road to Kandahar
Many of the U.S. military's most wanted are believed to be hiding in a swath of rugged mountains in Pakistan, just over the Afghan border. President Obama has called the tribal region "the most dangerous place in the world." Pakistani Journalist Imtiaz Gul explains to Steve Inskeep what Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas actually are. More at NPR.org
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