Most contemporary journalistic and scholarly accounts of the instability gripping Afghanistan and Pakistan have argued that violent Islamic extremism, including support for the Taliban and related groups, is either rooted in Pashtun history and culture, or finds willing hosts among their communities on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Abubakar Siddique sets out to demonstrate that the failure, or even unwillingness, of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to absorb the Pashtuns into their state structures and to incorporate them into the ecomic and political fabric is central to these dynamics, and a critical failure of nation- and state-building in both states. In his book he argues that religious extremism is the product of these critical failures and that responsibility for the situation lies to some degree with the elites of both countries. Partly an eye-witness account and partly meticulously researched scholarship, The Pashtun Question describes a people whose destiny will shape the future of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Abubakar Siddique is a journalist with Radio Free Europe in Prague, covering Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has spent the past decade researching and writing about security, political, humanitarian and cultural issues in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Pashtun heartland along the border region where he was born. In 2006 he co- authored a report with Professor Barnett Rubin for the US Institute of Peace that was the first analytical work to address the importance of Pakistan's tribal areas, 'Resolving the Pakistan-Afghanistan Stalemate'.