Richard Cockett

How Bad Can It Get?

Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 234pp £20 order from our bookshop

How publishers must relish the contest to invent the most alarming title for books about AfPak, as that benighted region of the world is now known. Finally, they get to use all the big bazookas in the lexicon of scarewords. Recent examples of the genre include (in abbreviated form): Drift into Extremism, Deep Inside the World’s Most Frightening State, Deadly Embrace, Apocalyptic Realm and Descent into Chaos. Get the picture? 

That last book, published in 2008, was written by Ahmed Rashid, one of Pakistan’s most renowned journalists. He has now come out with a slim new volume entitled Pakistan on the Brink. So what has happened in the last few years? Did we descend

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