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Book review: Fountainhead of Jihad

[ Charles Cameron -- opening of my review of Vahid Brown & Don Rassler, Fountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012 for Pragati magazine ]
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Deep insight into the Haqqani Network

Haqqani Network is at the centre of a nexus of jehadi violence in a triangle of relations with the Pakistani Taliban, the Pakistani military and al-Qa’ida.

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by Charles Cameron
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Charlie Wilson, the gaudy US congressman from Texas whose support for arming the mujahideen during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan gave the name Charlie’s War to George Crile’s book (and the Tom Hanks feature adaptation of the same name), drank, lusted, flirted, bribed and persuaded with cheerful abandon — and once referred to Jalaluddin Haqqani as “goodness personified.”

That same Jalaluddin Haqqani, Vahid Brown and Don Rassler argue in their book, Fountainhead of Jihad: the Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012, was pushing the line of obligatory global jihad even before Abdullah Azzam, and was the first to recruit Arab “foreign fighters” to the jihad back in the 1980s. The network that paragon of goodness established is still, some forty years later, continuing in a tradition that began before the Durand Line was scrawled across a map, already in place when the British attempted to ‘take’ Afghanistan in the First Afghan War of 1839 — and that has arguably prevailed repeatedly in that mountainous, mutinous region against all comers since Iskandar tried his own fortune at what would later be called the Great Game.

Read the rest at Pragati

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The book, from the admirable Hurst Publishers in London and Columbia University Press in the US is available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Pragati is the magazine of India’s Takshashila Institution.

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