The Taliban

Afghanistan's Most Lethal Insurgents

by Mark Silinsky
Foreword by Raymond Taras


Does America have the resolve to win its war against the Taliban?

Print Flyer
Cover image for The Taliban

April 2014


Pages 263
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/Terrorism

Understand the complexities of the most lethal insurgent group of America's longest war—the Taliban.

Battle hardened, tribally oriented, and deeply committed to its cause, the Taliban has proven itself resourceful, adaptable, and often successful. As such, the Taliban presents a counterinsurgency puzzle for which the United States has yet to identify effective military tactics, information operations, and Coalition developmental policies. Written by one of the Department of the Army's leading intelligence and military analysts on the Taliban, this book covers the group's complete history, including its formation, ideology, and political power, as well as the origins of its current conflict with the United States. The work carefully analyzes the agenda, capabilities, and support base of the Taliban; forecasts the group's likely course of action to retake Afghanistan; and details the Coalition forces' probable counterinsurgency responses. Author Mark Silinsky also reviews the successes and failures of the latest U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine to extrapolate the best strategies for future counterinsurgency campaigns.


  • Provides insights from an author with academic training in politics and economics as well as a 30-year defense intelligence community background, including serving as an Army analyst in Afghanistan
  • Presents information recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act
  • Analyzes the tribal, religious, political, and international elements of the greater Taliban problem
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Written by subject experts and well-known researchers, the books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, first responders, economists, journalists, civil servants, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth reflections, thorough analysis, and international perspectives that are unavailable in mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students and researchers as well as anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Mark Silinsky, PhD, is a 32-year veteran of the defense intelligence community. He has served as a senior counterinsurgency advisor and counterintelligence analyst in the United States and in Afghanistan. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Southern California; earned a master's degree from Oxford University; and is a graduate of the Naval War College, the National Defense University, and the National Intelligence University. He received his doctorate from Tulane University, and the subject of his dissertation was the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.



"Covering a perplexing subject succinctly, this is a more academic and up-to-date examination . . . . It will be useful for students investigating current events and is a valuable addition to collections supporting introductory academic research into contemporary world history or politics."Library Journal

"Written by an Army intelligence veteran, this work tackles a difficult subject, balancing factual reporting, emotionally charged narratives, basic background information, and deeper explorations of conflict and ideologies. . . . The content is well researched, gives relevant historical context and background of the extremist policies of the Taliban, and describes atrocities committed by terrorists and Americans and resistance to the Taliban. The occasionally dry tone is balanced by short, descriptive profiles of different people, such as a comedian who resisted oppression with humor. . . . The author has a military background, which provides insight and makes this book far less alarmist than The World Almanac of Islamism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011). . . . The content is general enough for casual reading, and an extensive compilation of notes and a strong bibliography make it a great resource for research. Overall, this is a well-organized, valuable work."School Library Journal

"This is a highly comprehensive, informative, and authoritative examination of the origins and evolution of the Taliban. . . . [T]his book serves as an indispensable handbook for those interested in understanding the extent of progress made so far and the likely security challenges that lie ahead." Perspectives on Terrorism

"The book to read about The Taliban is Mark Silinsky's The Taliban: Afghanistan's Most Lethal Insurgents. . . . [P]ublished in 2014, it is the best, clearest, most factual, and least biased of the books I have read so far."Middle East Forum

"While America's role in the war is coming to an end, this book will be valuable to the small contingent of soldiers and civilians deploying to Afghanistan as well as Americans seeking answers after 13 years of war."Parameters

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

17N's Philosophy of Terror cover imageThe Lord's Resistance Army cover imageThe Khmer Rouge cover image
The IRA cover imageArmed for Life cover imageThe Palestine Liberation Organization cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips