The Taliban are yet another manifestation of the growth of radical Islam worldwide. This book explores what they stand for and the factors leading to their rapid rise to military and political dominance over Afghanistan. It considers the many influences within the country, the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. It describes the war which continues to afflict the Afghan people as well as the geo-political context and the possible part played by certain powers in the region, and by the United States, in the Taliban's dramatic expansion. Peter Marsden examines the unique and complicated character of an Islamic revivalist movement like the Taliban. He confronts the issue of international responsibility in situations of chronic conflict brought on by external interference, and considers the dilemmas faced by humanitarian agencies in seeking to reconcile the evident need for assistance with the often difficult political and human rights context in which they are working. He examines the cultural conflict between Western thinking and the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic values, particularly in relation to gender, and asks how the international community should deal with this conflict.