• Taliban

  • Islam, Oil, and the Great New Game in Central Asia
  • By: Ahmed Rashid
  • Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 02-08-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (13 ratings)


In this enormously insightful book, correspondent Ahmed Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban, the world’s most extreme and radical Islamic organization, into sharp focus. He explains the Taliban’s rise to power, its impact on Afghanistan and the region, its role in oil and gas company decisions, and the effects of changing American attitudes toward the Taliban. He also describes the new face of Islamic fundamentalism and explains why Afghanistan has become the world center for international terrorism.
©2000 Ahmed Rashid (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By JayJay on 07-01-15

Shedding light on a complex and secretive sect.

What made the experience of listening to Taliban the most enjoyable?

The story of the Taliban is a complex mix of ethnic and sectarian divisions. Their extreme view of Islam is at odds with one of their major sources of money - the heroin trade. This is just one of many contradictions that Rashid explains in this fact laden book.

What did you like best about this story?

In the last chapter Rashid gives an insightful analysis of the consequences the Taliban rule has inflicted not only on Afghanistan but the region.

The book ends pre 9/11 and the coalition invasion of Afghanistan so his analysis of these more recent events would be interesting. Perhaps the subject of a future work?

What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

McCaddon manages the pronunciation of the many foreign names expertly, however I would recommend she stays clear of American accents!

That said, I cannot agree with an early review that described her performance as "mono tone information".I thought her performance was well paced and lively.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The list of rules governing the behaviour of women, issued by the Taliban when they took Kabul, is chillingly Orwellian.

I can't begin to comprehend what day-to-day life must be like for the ordinary Afghani.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Rhian on 18-02-14

Sorry I didn't finish the whole audible ...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

alot of information for research but not for general listerning.

Would you ever listen to anything by Ahmed Rashid again?


What three words best describe Wanda McCaddon’s performance?

mono tone information

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Taliban?

create a flow

Any additional comments?

I would buy this as a hard back book so I could stop and absorb information as it came. It was to much factual information for general listerning (for my little brain)

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jeff on 06-10-13

If We'd Only Listened!

Would you listen to Taliban again? Why?

Taliban is definetely an audiobook that demands at least two listens. Its easy to get lost with all the places people and events that are discussed in this work. I almost felt like I needed a detailed map of Central Asia in my hand to grasp what the author was trying to convey.

What about Wanda McCaddon’s performance did you like?

Is this really Wanda McCaddon? Why does she sound exactly like Nadia May? Anyway, whoever the narrator was she did a fantastic job. She has obviously spent a considerable amount of time learning how to correctly pronounce Arabic and Turkik propper nouns. Her professional and journalistic tone also added much to this presentation. My only complaint was that she tended to brutalize pronunciation of the few Chinese place names mentioned in this book, a very minor flaw.

Any additional comments?

This book was published in the year before 9/11, so its already quite dated considering everything that's transpired in the Middle East and Central Asia since then. That being said Mr Rashid's warnings about the coming era of international terrorism as a consequence of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan seem almost prophetic. Looking back, if we hadn't been so concerned with keeping Iran and Russia in check at all costs, and had instead taken good care of the people that WON THE COLD WAR FOR US the Taliban probably wouldn't have been able to come to power and Osama Bin Laden and others like him wouldn't have had a haven to run to.

It was really intersting to learn about the humble beginnings of the movement as well has how Taliban doctrine differes from other Islamic sects. The detailed history of Central Asia was also informative. It seems cruelly ironic that a group of Afghans born, raised and imbued with radical Islam in Pakistan, would return to conquer and rule their ancestrial homeland, a place they didn't really understand.

The apendix at the end which included original translations of Taliban decrees was a priceless resource. The original interviews and with players on all sides of the pre-2001 Afghanistan conflict also provided great insight. This is definetely a book with years of field experience behind it and is an excellent tool to understanding area polics even today.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Fatma on 29-09-16


Although this was interesting, you have to read many sources of Afghanistan history, and go see it for yourself.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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