Unwinnable

Author: Theo Farrell
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781473522404
Release Date: 2017-09-07
Genre: History

A Sunday Times Book of the Year It could have been a very different story. British and US forces could have successfully withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2002, having done the job they set out to do: to defeat al-Qaeda and stop it from launching further terrorist attacks against the West. Instead, in the years that followed, the British paid a heavy price for their presence in Helmand province; and when Western troops departed from Afghanistan in 2014, they had failed to stop a Taliban resurgence. Drawing on unprecedented access to military reports and government documents, as well as hundreds of interviews, Farrell demonstrates conclusively that the West's failure to understand the dynamics of local conflict in the country, and to tackle Afghan government corruption, meant that the war was unwinnable.

Unwinnable

Author: Theo Farrell
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 1784701327
Release Date: 2018-09-06
Genre:

Chosen as a Book of the Year by the Sunday Times and the Evening Standard It could have been a very different story. British and US forces could have successfully withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2002, having done the job they set out to do: to defeat al-Qaeda and stop it from launching further terrorist attacks against the West. Yet over the following thirteen years they paid a heavy price for their presence in Helmand province; and when Western troops departed from Afghanistan in 2014, they had failed to stop a Taliban resurgence. In this magisterial study, Theo Farrell explains the origins and causes of the war, providing fascinating insight into the British government's reaction to 9/11 and the steps that led the British Army to Helmand. He draws on unprecedented access to military reports and government documents, as well as hundreds of interviews with Western commanders, senior figures in the Taliban, Afghan civilians and British politicians. And he demonstrates conclusively that the West's failure to understand the dynamics of local conflict in the country, and to tackle Afghan government corruption, meant that the war was unwinnable.

Unwinnable

Author: Theo Farrell
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
ISBN: 1847923461
Release Date: 2017
Genre: Afghan War, 2001-

British and US forces could have successfully withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2002, having done the job they set out to do: to defeat al-Qaeda and stop it from launching further terrorist attacks against the West. Instead, British troops became part of a larger international effort to stabilise the country. This book explains the origins and causes of the war, providing fascinating insight into the British government's reaction to 9/11 and the steps that led the British Army to Helmand

Investment in Blood

Author: Frank Ledwidge
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300194883
Release Date: 2013-05-31
Genre: History

"In this follow-up to his much-praised book Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, Frank Ledwidge argues that Britain has paid a heavy cost - both financially and in human terms - for its involvement in the Afghanistan war. Ledwidge calculates the high price paid by British soldiers and their families, taxpayers in the United Kingdom, and, most importantly, Afghan citizens, highlighting the thousands of deaths and injuries, the enormous amount of money spent bolstering a corrupt Afghan government, and the long-term damage done to the British military's international reputation. In this hard-hitting exposé, based on interviews, rigorous on-the-ground research, and official information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Ledwidge demonstrates the folly of Britain's extended participation in an unwinnable war. Arguing that the only true beneficiaries of the conflict are development consultants, international arms dealers, and Afghan drug kingpins, he provides a powerful, eye-opening, and often heartbreaking account of military adventurism gone horribly wrong."--

An Intimate War

Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)
ISBN: 9780199387984
Release Date: 2014
Genre: History

An Intimate War tells the story of the last thirty-four years of conflict in Helmand Province, Afghani- stan as seen through the eyes of the Helmandis. In the West, this period is often defined through different lenses - the Soviet intervention, the civil war, the Taliban, and the post-2001 nation-building era. Yet, as experienced by local inhabitants, the Helmand conflict is a perennial one, involving the same individuals, families and groups, and driven by the same arguments over land, water and power. This book - based on both military and re- search experience in Helmand and 150 inter- views in Pashto - offers a very different view of Helmand from those in the media. It demonstrates how outsiders have most often misunderstood the ongoing struggle in Helmand and how, in doing so, they have exacerbated the conflict, perpetuated it and made it more violent - precisely the opposite of what was intended when their interventions were launched. Mike Martin's oral history of Helmand under- scores the absolute imperative of understanding the highly local, personal, and non-ideological nature of internal conflict in much of the 'third' world.

Directorate S

Author: Steve Coll
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780525557302
Release Date: 2018-02-06
Genre: Political Science

Resuming the narrative of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars, bestselling author Steve Coll tells for the first time the epic and enthralling story of America's intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11 Prior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, ostensibly in cooperation, although often in direct opposition, with I.S.I., the Pakistani intelligence agency. While the US was trying to quell extremists, a highly secretive and compartmentalized wing of I.S.I., known as "Directorate S," was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban, in order to enlarge Pakistan's sphere of influence. After 9/11, when fifty-nine countries, led by the U. S., deployed troops or provided aid to Afghanistan in an effort to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the U.S. was set on an invisible slow-motion collision course with Pakistan. Today we know that the war in Afghanistan would falter badly because of military hubris at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the drain on resources and provocation in the Muslim world caused by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and corruption. But more than anything, as Coll makes painfully clear, the war in Afghanistan was doomed because of the failure of the United States to apprehend the motivations and intentions of I.S.I.'s "Directorate S". This was a swirling and shadowy struggle of historic proportions, which endured over a decade and across both the Bush and Obama administrations, involving multiple secret intelligence agencies, a litany of incongruous strategies and tactics, and dozens of players, including some of the most prominent military and political figures. A sprawling American tragedy, the war was an open clash of arms but also a covert melee of ideas, secrets, and subterranean violence. Coll excavates this grand battle, which took place away from the gaze of the American public. With unsurpassed expertise, original research, and attention to detail, he brings to life a narrative at once vast and intricate, local and global, propulsive and painstaking. This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Nothing less than a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shape world history, Directorate S is a complete masterpiece of both investigative and narrative journalism.

War Against the Taliban

Author: Sandy Gall
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 9781408822340
Release Date: 2013-02-19
Genre: History

A comprehensive analysis of the current Afghanistan War by bestselling writer and legendary war reporter Sandy Gall

Whispers of War

Author: Masood Khalili
Publisher: SAGE Publishing India
ISBN: 9789386062796
Release Date: 2017-04-03
Genre: History

Visit the Book site for more information Whispers of War: An Afghan Freedom Fighter’s Account of the Soviet Invasion is the real-life tale of a young political leader, Masood Khalili. Son of Ustad Khalilullah Khalili, the great Afghan poet, he motivated his people and led them in their fight against the ‘Red Army’. Alongside his friend Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, Khalili traveled by foot, on horseback and on donkey, sharing the tales of pain, despair, and despondence of his countrymen and women. In letters to his beloved wife Sohaillah, he writes of his journey through the Himalayan range, accompanied by a team of foreign journalists. The book is an account of the search for ever elusive peace in a country ravaged by war - a war that changed the landscape of the country and the fabric of its society.

The Islamic State in Khorasan

Author: Antonio Giustozzi
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9781787380943
Release Date: 2018-08-01
Genre: Political Science

So-called Islamic State began to appear in what it calls Khorasan (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, Iran and India) in 2014. Reports of its presence were at first dismissed as propaganda, but during 2015 it became clear that IS had a serious presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan at least. This book, by one of the leading experts on Islamist insurgency in the region, explores the nature of IS in Khorasan, its aim and strategies, and its evolution in an environment already populated by many jihadist organisations. Based on first-hand research and numerous interviews with members of IS in Khorasan, as well as with other participants and observers, the book addresses highly contentious issues such as funding, IS's relationship with the region's authorities, and its interactions with other insurgent groups. Giustozzi argues that the central leadership of IS invested significant financial resources in establishing its own branch in Khorasan, and as such it is more than a local movement which adopted the IS brand for its own aims. Though the central leadership has been struggling in implementing its project, it is now turning towards a more realistic approach. This is the first book on a new frontier in Islamic State's international jihad.

High Command

Author: Christopher L. Elliott
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190233051
Release Date: 2015
Genre: History

Explores the circumstances that led to Britain's support of the United States in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the Ministry of Defence coped with challenges including rivalry and diffuse responsibility among the Service Chiefs, lack of clear strategy, and weak domestic political support.

The Future of War

Author: Lawrence Freedman
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 9781610393065
Release Date: 2017-10-10
Genre: History

Questions about the future of war are a regular feature of political debate, strategic analysis, and popular fiction. Where should we look for new dangers? What cunning plans might an aggressor have in mind? What are the best forms of defense? How might peace be preserved or conflict resolved? From the French rout at Sedan in 1870 to the relentless contemporary insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lawrence Freedman, a world-renowned military thinker, reveals how most claims from the military futurists are wrong. But they remain influential nonetheless. Freedman shows how those who have imagined future war have often had an idealized notion of it as confined, brief, and decisive, and have regularly taken insufficient account of the possibility of long wars-hence the stubborn persistence of the idea of a knockout blow, whether through a dashing land offensive, nuclear first strike, or cyberattack. He also notes the lack of attention paid to civil wars until the West began to intervene in them during the 1990s, and how the boundaries between peace and war, between the military, the civilian, and the criminal are becoming increasingly blurred. Freedman's account of a century and a half of warfare and the (often misconceived) thinking that precedes war is a challenge to hawks and doves alike, and puts current strategic thinking into a bracing historical perspective.

The Operators

Author: Michael Hastings
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101575482
Release Date: 2012-01-05
Genre: Political Science

The inspiration for the Netflix original movie War Machine, starring Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, and Ben Kingsley From the author of The Last Magazine, a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of our military commanders, their high-stake maneuvers, and the politcal firestorm that shook the United States. In the shadow of the hunt for Bin Laden and the United States’ involvement in the Middle East, General Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, was living large. His loyal staff liked to call him a “rock star.” During a spring 2010 trip, journalist Michael Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration. When Hastings’s article appeared in Rolling Stone, it set off a political firestorm: McChrystal was unceremoniously fired. In The Operators, Hastings picks up where his Rolling Stone coup ended. From patrol missions in the Afghan hinterlands to senior military advisors’ late-night bull sessions to hotel bars where spies and expensive hookers participate in nation-building, Hastings presents a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of what he fears is an unwinnable war. Written in prose that is at once eye-opening and other times uncannily conversational, readers of No Easy Day will take to Hastings’ unyielding first-hand account of the Afghan War and its cast of players.

The Arabs at War in Afghanistan

Author: Mustafa Hamid
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9781849045940
Release Date: 2015-04-16
Genre: History

A former senior mujahidin figure and an ex-counter-terrorism analyst cooperating to write a book on the history and legacy of Arab-Afghan fighters in Afghanistan is a remarkable and improbable undertaking. Yet this is what Mustafa Hamid, aka Abu Walid al-Masri, and Leah Farrall have achieved with the publication of their ground-breaking work. The result of thousands of hours of discussions over several years, The Arabs at War in Afghanistan offers significant new insights into the history of many of today's militant Salafi groups and movements. By revealing the real origins of the Taliban and al-Qaeda and the jostling among the various jihadi groups, this account not only challenges conventional wisdom, but also raises uncomfortable questions as to how events from this important period have been so badly misconstrued.

Taliban Narratives

Author: Thomas Johnson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190911676
Release Date: 2018-02-01
Genre: History

Why has the Taliban been so much more effective in presenting messages that resonate with the Afghan population than the United States, the Afghan government and their allies? This book, based on years of field research and the assessment of hundreds of original source materials, examines the information operations and related narratives of Afghan insurgents, especially the Afghan Taliban, and investigates how the Taliban has won the information war. Taliban messaging, wrapped in the narrative of jihad, is both to the point and in tune with its target audiences. On the other hand, the United States and its Kabul allies committed a basic messaging blunder, failing to present narratives that spoke to or, often, were even understood by their target audiences. Thomas Johnson systematically explains why the United States lost this "battle of the story" in Afghanistan, and argues that this defeat may have cost the US the entire war, despite its conventional and technological superiority.

Losing Small Wars

Author: Frank Ledwidge
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300229097
Release Date: 2017-02-21
Genre: History

This new edition of Frank Ledwidge’s eye-opening analysis of British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan unpicks the causes and enormous costs of military failure. Updated throughout, and with fresh chapters assessing and enumerating the overall military performance since 2011—including Libya, ISIS, and the Chilcot findings—Ledwidge shows how lessons continue to go unlearned. “A brave and important book; essential reading for anyone wanting insights into the dysfunction within the British military today, and the consequences this has on the lives of innocent civilians caught up in war.”—Times Literary Supplement