This book sets out the rise to power of the Taliban, their origins and ideology. The roots of the Taliban lay in the position of Islam in Afghan society and they found their antecedents in the Muhajideen who had fought the Russians. Among them were Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abd al-Rab Rasul Sayyaf, both of whom have continuing relevance in the Afghan Islamic movement today.
The book also looks at the Taliban's theology in the Hanafi school as well as other influences on them. Much of the book covers the Taliban in power in its early days and gives some insight into an Islamic Caliphate/Amirate in action. Also covered are the foreign relations of the Taliban and their relationship with Osama bin Laden. With negotiations taking place between the Taliban and the Afghan Government, this book is a useful indicator of how the regime functioned in power, what mistakes were made and, potentially, could be used to explore possible red lines in such a process.