I read Silinsky's "The Taliban" and, ironically, finished it on the day when all the Paris news was pouring in. The book was prescient and even more frightening. What will happen next?
I found "The Taliban" readable and more worrisome than I expected. I know that the Taliban are not "nice" people but hadn't realized how violent they are. ISIL seems to have taken lessons from them.
I highly recommend this book if you want to read a factual, non-political presentation of the Taliban. The book is written somewhere between the general public and a textbook. Easy to read but not a novel and, a compliment, not at all entertaining.
There are hundreds of end notes which can be ignored. They provide the source material from which the book was developed. Silinsky intersperses "profiles" which are descriptions of the situations, usually distressing, that individuals incurred. They are very valuable as they put flesh to the factual statements throughout the book. Most moving for me was 9.3, chapter 9 item 3, re Paula Lloyd. She was the victim of sheer viciousness under the guise of ending an insult to Allah. The insult; Lloyd was not wearing a head scarf and for that was doused with gasoline and set afire. This was not insanity; just beyond my comprehension.