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The Pashtun Question
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About the Author

Abubakar Siddique is a journalist with Radio Free Europe in Prague, covering Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has spent the past decade researching and writing about security, political, humanitarian and cultural issues in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Pashtun heartland along the border region where he was born. In 2006 he co- authored a report with Professor Barnett Rubin for the US Institute of Peace that was the first analytical work to address the importance of Pakistan's tribal areas, 'Resolving the Pakistan-Afghanistan Stalemate'.

Reviews

'Westerners misunderstand Pashtun society in part because they are often fixated on romantic ideas about Pashtunwali - the tribal code that is said to prize honour, revenge and hospitality above all other virtues. Understandably irritated that British imperialists and today's foreign correspondents have reduced his culture to an Orientalist fantasy, Siddique points out that, far from relishing the chance to murder one another, most Pashtuns, just like everyone else, would be very happy to live in peace.' * London Review of Books *
'After years of dedicated scholarship and often-risky field research, Abubakar Siddique makes an articulate and timely plea on behalf of the long-misunderstood Pashtun people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, while offering a timely road map to peace. I have no doubt that The Pashtun Question will become an indispensable guide for those seeking solutions to the bitterly-intertwined conflicts of the region. A must-read.' * Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer for the New Yorker, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life *
'The difference between this book and all the others written on the troubled frontier regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan is that Abubakar Siddique is himself a tribesman from the region, has studied his people closely and offers us insights which are simply not available anywhere else. We are in the hands of a master of knowledge of his region and the wars that have taken such a terrible toll over the past decade. Siddique writes lucidly, provocatively and with enormous knowledge and insight. We know we are in the hands of a master social scientist and story teller from the first pages of this enlightened book.' * Ahmed Rashid, journalist and author of Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan *
'This is the book to read for a comprehensive and definitive understanding of the Pashtuns of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and insight into the roots of Islamic militancy in their borderlands. Siddique's scholarly yet highly readable study offers a much welcomed, often first-hand account of contemporary Pashtuns' troubled history and society, driving ideologies, and radical progeny - the Taliban.' * Marvin Weinbaum, Middle East Institute *
'This is a study of the cultural values and current political affairs of the Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line. Siddique, a native of Waziristan, offers a fascinating description not only of his own kinsmen, but of all Pashtuns whom he has visited in various times in their lands. He has has interviewed their key figures with the result that the work is rich in valuable information and insights that can not be found elsewhere. All this makes it an outstanding work of its kind. Its appearance at a time when the Pashtun heartland is the focus of special attention will be of great value for all, especially for those who have to deal with this fascinating and still largely misunderstood part of the world.' * Mohammad Hassan Kakar, former professor of History at Kabul University *
'The Pashtun Question offers a comprehensive report of Pashtun history and present-day politics. Siddique's storytelling skills as a journalist save the book from sinking under its evident scholarship, and by writing of his own people, he offers a genuine understanding that far too many commentators miss because they only focus on whatever political crisis brought them there.' * Gulf News *
'The Pashtun Question informs readers of the complex political landscape of the Pashtun regions and explores the various hues of political players in an objective and insightful manner. ... Siddique provides an insider's perspective to a body of literature otherwise dominated by a handful of British colonial accounts.' * Business Standard *
'The Pashtun Question looks carefully at the problem of growing extremism in Pakistan's tribal region. By delving into the history and culture of the Pakhtuns on both sides of the Durand Line, Siddique explores reasons that compelled a peaceful tribal people, who had lived in relative isolation until five or six decades ago, to turn their borderlands into an incubator of extremism ... Siddique's work adds value because of his first-hand knowledge and well thought out analysis.' * Dawn *

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