Yesterday, the editors of My Life with the Taliban, Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, appeared on The Leonard Lopate Show to discuss the book, its origins, the history of the Taliban and Afghanistan, present-day condition, and the extraordinary life of Abdul Salam Zaeef, which included fighting against the Soviets in the 1980s, working in a variety of administrative and leadership positions in the Taliban, and imprisonment at Guantanamo.
The book was also reviewed in the New Republic along with Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field, edited by Antonio Giustozzi.
In the review David Rhode writes, “Both books offer important clues that could help to answer some of the most pressing foreign policy questions now confronting the Obama administration. Who are the Taliban? And can they be defeated, or convinced to lay down their arms?”
In their very different ways, both books demonstrate that the Afghan Taliban have become significantly stronger, broader, and more sophisticated since they were toppled in 2001. They also suggest that the Afghan Taliban leadership is increasingly confident, as its military successes multiply and it continues to enjoy safe havens in Pakistan. And the books leave the reader to conclude that hard-line Afghan Taliban are unlikely to agree to a negotiated peace settlement, unless the surge of thirty thousand additional American troops in Afghanistan coincides with a serious military or political drive by the Pakistani government to pressure the Afghan Taliban on the Pakistani side of the border.