From the award-winning co-author of ‘I Am Malala’, this book asks just how the might of NATO, with 48 countries and 140,000 troops on the ground, failed to defeat a group of religious students and farmers? How did it go so wrong?
Twenty-seven years ago, Christina Lamb left Britain to become a journalist in Pakistan. She crossed the Hindu Kush into Afghanistan with mujaheddin fighting the Russians and fell unequivocally in love with this fierce country of pomegranates and war, a relationship which has dominated her adult life.
Since 2001, Lamb has watched with incredulity as the West fought a war with its hands tied, committed too little too late, failed to understand local dynamics and turned a blind eye as their Taliban enemy was helped by their ally Pakistan.
Farewell Kabul tells how success was turned into defeat in the longest war fought by the United States in its history and by Britain since the Hundred Years War. It has been a fiasco which has left Afghanistan still one of the poorest nations on earth, the Taliban undefeated, and nuclear armed Pakistan perhaps the most dangerous place on earth.
With unparalleled access to all key decision-makers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, London and Washington, from heads of state and generals as well as soldiers on the ground, Farewell Kabul tells how this happened.
In Afghanistan, Lamb has travelled far beyond Helmand – from the caves of Tora Bora in the south to the mountainous bad lands of Kunar in the east; from Herat, city of poets and minarets in the west, to the very poorest province of Samangan in the north. She went to Guantánamo, met Taliban in Quetta, visited jihadi camps in Pakistan and saw bin Laden’s house just after he was killed. Saddest of all, she met women who had been made role models by the West and had then been shot, raped or forced to flee the country.
This deeply personal book not only shows the human cost of political failure but explains how short-sighted encouragement of jihadis to fight the Russians, followed by prosecution of ill-thoughtout wars, has resulted in the spread of terrorism throughout the Islamic world.
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The definitive book on the war in Afghanistan by award-winning journalist Christina Lamb.
Crouched in a ditch in Helmand, with Taliban gunfire exploding around her, Christina Lamb found herself wondering what the British troops at her side were achieving. Twenty years earlier, she had cowered in a ditch in nearby Kandahar, only that time under Russian fire and alongside Afghans who later became Taliban.
Today, the war in Afghanistan – at one point hailed by the U.S. as ‘a breathtaking success’ – has sucked in 140,000 troops. Meanwhile, 70 per cent of terror plots trace to neighbouring Pakistan. How did this happen?
Lamb travels both countries seeking answers. She visits Karzai’s palace in Kabul, where she finds him pacing a walled garden with snipers on the roof and two baby deer for company. Then to Herat, where she meets with a group of women writers who risked their lives under the Taliban and are once again living in fear. In Peshawar, she discovers mosques openly raising money to fight Americans, while in Quetta she meets Taliban ministers freely recruiting. In Karachi, she spends days with Benazir Bhutto, whose dream of saving Pakistan would end in tragedy.
Lamb’s riveting account reveals a textbook case of how not to run a war. It is a tale of international confusion, competing military operations, civilian casualties and payoffs. But the real problem is Pakistan, where that country’s dictator takes billions of U.S. dollars even as Pakistani intelligence helps to train enemies of the West.
With unparalleled access to key players, from top officials in Washington, London, Islamabad and Kabul, to Taliban and Pakistani spies, Lamb traces the conflict back to the 1980s, when the CIA decided to use Islam as rallying cry against the Soviets. Unflinching and insightful, this definitive account of the West’s involvement in Afghanistan is vital reading for anyone who wants to know: are we fighting the wrong war?Product Description:
How did the war in Afghanistan go so terribly wrong? This shocking account by the journalist who knows this story best provides answers that will surprise even the experts. An unmissable account of the conflict that has dominated foreign affairs since 9/11.
‘War Not Peace’ tells how the West turned success into defeat in the longest war fought by the United States in its history and by Britain since the Hundred Years War. It is the story of well-intentioned men and women going into a place they did not understand at all. And how, what had once been the right thing to do had become a conflict that everyone wanted to exit. It has been a fiasco which has left Afghanistan still one of the poorest and most dangerous nations on earth.
The leading journalist on the region with unparalleled access to all key decision makers, Christina Lamb is the best-selling author of ‘The Africa House’ and ‘I Am Malala’, co-authored with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. This revelatory and personal account is her final analysis of the realities of Afghanistan, told unlike anyone before.
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