It has been suggested to me that you might try reading the Epilogue of Before Taliban before you start on the beginning of the book. This may not work, but it would have the advantage of showing connections between events and Afghanistan before 2001 and after. And as you read, you would have a sense of direction -- you'd know what the end of the story was.
Speaking of connections, Juan Cole in his recent post on possible negotiations in Afghanistan identifies the various groups that are sloppily labeled as Taliban today. Once you start into the book you will find that some of the people discussed in it are still around. The diversity of the anti-coalition forces is also reported on in somewhat less detail in this video report from Al Jazeera.