The American bombing of terrorist bases in Afghanistan under the protection of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement has brought the Taliban into sharp focus as the most radical and extreme Islamic movement in the world today. Little is known about the Taliban because of the deep secrecy that surrounds their political movement, their leaders and their aims. The geo-strategic implications of the Taliban are already creating severe instability in Russia, Iran and the five Central Asian republics where the Taliban have become a major player in the new Great Game, as Western countries and companies compete to build oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia to Western and Asian markets. The Taliban's implementation of their extreme interpretation of Islam poses new challenges to the Muslim world and the West’s understanding of radical Islam in the post-Cold War era. ‘This is an impressive and eminently readable analysis of the Taliban movement, of its background and impact on Afghanistan, and of the wider regional and geopolitical implications of the Taliban’s advent to power. The author himself is especially well placed to provide this account, having covered Afghanistan itself for two decades and having direct access to policy-makers in Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia. This is not the first book to be written on the Taliban, or Afghanistan in the 1990s. It promises, however, to be by far the strongest. It would be hard to see how anyone could rival the range and details of this account: this bids well to be the leading book on the subject.’ - Professor Fred Halliday, London School of Economics Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game was runner-up in the prestigious annual British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize, administered by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.