Frontier of Faith: Islam, in the Indo-Afghan Borderland
C. Hurst, Publishers, Limited, 2011 - Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Pakistan) - 256 pages
"Frontier of Faith" examines the history of Islam-especially that of local "mullahs," or Muslim clerics-in the North-West Frontier. A largely autonomous zone straddling the boundary of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Tribal Areas was established as a strategic buffer zone for British India, and the resulting autonomy allowed local mullahs to assume roles of tremendous power. After Partition in 1947, the Tribal Areas maintained its status as an autonomous region, and for the next fifty years the "mullahs" supported armed mobilizations in exchange for protection of their vested interests in regional freedom. Consequently the Frontier has become the hinterland of successive, contradictory "jihads" in support of Pashtun ethnicism, anti-colonial nationalism, Pakistani territorialism, religious revivalism, Afghan anti-Soviet resistance, and anti-Americanism. Considering this territory is said to be the current hiding place of Osama bin Laden, there couldn't be a better time for a sourcebook detailing the intricacies of the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands today and the function of the "mullahs" and their allies.