Taliban: The Unknown Enemy (Hardcover)

The Unknown Enemy

By James Fergusson

Da Capo Press, 9780306820335, 416pp.

Publication Date: May 24, 2011



From a small group of religious students formed in 1994, the Taliban quickly grew into a national movement that occupied all of Afghanistan. Led by the mysterious Mullah Omar, the group established a theocracy based on strict observance of Sharia law. When the Americans overthrew the Taliban in 2001, the United States thought the regime had been defeated. Yet today, nine years later, the Taliban continue to wage a bloody insurgency.

In this extraordinary and compelling account of the rise, fall, and return of the Taliban, author James Fergusson, who has unique access to its shadowy leaders, presents the reality of themovement so often mischaracterized in the press. His surprising and, perhaps, uncomfortable conclusions about our current strategy in Afghanistan should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand this intractable conflict.

About the Author

James Fergusson is a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent who has covered the Taliban extensively. He is also the author of the award-winning book A Million Bullets. He lives in Edinburgh.

Praise For Taliban: The Unknown Enemy

Kirkus Reviews, 5/15/11
“An intriguing argument for negotiations with the Taliban presented as the necessary precondition for a political settlement and withdrawal.”

Boston Globe, 6/1/11 “This sympathetic and eye-opening account should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Afghanistan.”

San Francisco Chronicle, 7/31/11
“Fergusson’s critique of the West’s failures in Afghanistan is devastating, and his insightful conversations with Afghans, including Taliban and their supporters, are very much worth reading.”

Reference and Research Book News, October 2011 “Fergusson…offers a portrait of the history and current status of the Taliban in which he hopes to counter Western images of the group as mere ‘bearded bigots’ and to impress upon the reader that the only way out of the mess that is the war in Afghanistan will be through a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.”