The 19th century American satirist, Ambrose Bierce, observed that Americans learn geography by where their troops are at war in the world. Get out your maps and locate the five republics of Central Asia. Since the U.S. war on Afghanistan, the area has gained new prominence. Three of these countries border Afghanistan. The U.S. has increased its military presence with bases throughout the region. Central Asia has extensive, untapped oil and natural gas resources that the U.S. covets. U.S. troops were initially welcomed into the Muslim dominated area, but now are seen as merely a prop for tyrannical regimes. Militant Islam is on the rise, but is U.S. foreign policy or are repressive rulers to blame?
Interview by David Barsamian.
Ahmed Rashid has been described as “the most influential journalist in the world.” Based in Lahore, he has been reporting on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia for many years. His articles appear in leading newspapers and magazines all over the world. He is a guest on major TV and radio outlets. His book Taliban was an international best seller. He is also the author of Jihad, Descent into Chaos, and Pakistan on the Brink.