Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

Ahmed Rashid. Viking, $36.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-02346-2
With the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 and the U.S. scheduled to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in 2014, growing attention is focused on Afghanistan's far more populous and politically volatile eastern neighbor. Native son and journalist Rashid—who has written four previous books on Pakistan and on radical Islam in the region (including Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia) takes a closer look at his country's prospects and finds them extremely tenuous, given high illiteracy and poverty rates, as well as disputes between a weak civilian government and the military and intelligence service (ISI). Rashid maintains that Pakistan's approach to militant Islam is contradictory; it fights some Jihadists that directly threaten the country's interests, while utilizing others as proxies against India in Kashmir. Meanwhile, relations with the U.S. have sharply deteriorated since the assassination of bin Laden, which gave rise to differing accounts from Washington and Islamabad regarding Pakistani intelligence concerning bin Laden's whereabouts. Rashid unsparingly details Pakistan's multiple problems, along with those of the American-Pakistani relationship. His tone is too dire at times, but generally, this is a clear-headed, sobering look at a country whose ties with the U.S. are becoming ever more frayed. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2012
Release date: 03/15/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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