- USD 24.99
Descripción de editorial
Nearly 100,000 U.S. soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan at the height of the campaign, fighting the longest war in the nation's history. But what do Americans know about the land where this conflict is taking place? Many have come to have a grasp of the people, history, and geography of Iraq, but Afghanistan remains a mystery.
Originally published by the U.S. Army to provide an overview of the country's terrain, ethnic groups, and history for American troops and now updated and expanded for the general public, Afghanistan Declassified fills in these gaps. Historian Brian Glyn Williams, who has traveled to Afghanistan frequently over the past decade, provides essential background to the war, tracing the rise, fall, and reemergence of the Taliban. Special sections deal with topics such as the CIA's Predator drone campaign in the Pakistani tribal zones, the spread of suicide bombing from Iraq to the Afghan theater of operations, and comparisons between the Soviet and U.S. experiences in Afghanistan.
To Williams, a historian of Central Asia, Afghanistan is not merely a theater in the war on terror. It is a primeval, exciting, and beautiful land; not only a place of danger and turmoil but also one of hospitable villagers and stunning landscapes, of great cultural diversity and richness. Williams brings the country to life through his own travel experiences—from living with Northern Alliance Uzbek warlords to working on a major NATO base. National heroes are introduced, Afghanistan's varied ethnic groups are explored, key battles—both ancient and current—are retold, and this land that many see as only a frightening setting for prolonged war emerges in three dimensions.
In an admirable, if belated, effort, the Department of Defense commissioned Williams, associate professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts, to write a primer to educate American forces. Updated and expanded for the general public, Williams's work adds personal experience and his deep knowledge of the culture and history of the country as he travels it, describing historical sites, a colorful, friendly people, and their sometimes friendly leaders. Mostly, this remains a superior textbook, dense with biographies, and events and details that broaden our understanding of the often familiar events he recounts. Backward compared to its neighbors, Afghanistan's weak central government was wracked since the late 19th century by intermittent murderous uprisings. The USSR did not plan the 1978 communist coup, and, its 1979 invasion was initially a limited military attempt to prevent anti-communist Afghans from taking power. The author describes the bloody 1980s mujahedeen resistance followed by the vicious 1990s civil war which led to the Taliban regime whose refusal to surrender Osama bin Laden after 9/11 provoked the American invasion. While maintaining the righteousness of our cause, Williams delivers a painful account of the bungled follow up and remains lukewarm about the chance of a satisfactory outcome. Illus., maps. Nov.)