The most comprehensive and gripping account of the Afghan war, by a BBC journalist.
The war in Afghanistan is over ten years old. It has cost countless lives and hundreds of billions of pounds. Politicians talk of progress, but the violence is worse than ever.
In this powerful and shocking exposé from the front lines in Helmand province, leading journalist and documentary-maker Ben Anderson (HBO, Panorama, and Dispatches) shows just how bad it has got. Detailing battles that last for days, only to be fought again weeks later, Anderson witnesses IED explosions and sniper fire, amid disturbing incompetence and corruption among the Afghan army and police. Also revealing the daily struggle to win over the long-suffering local population, who often express open support for the Taliban, No Worse Enemy is a heartbreaking insight into the chaos at the heart of the region.
Raising urgent questions about our supposed achievements and the politicians’ desire for a hasty exit, Anderson highlights the vast gulf that exists between what we are told and what is actually happening on the ground. A product of five years’ unrivalled access to UK forces and US Marines, this is the most intimate and horrifying account of the Afghan war ever published.
Following five years of an embedded media assignment with the British Army and U.S. Marines, Anderson, a journalist and documentarian (The Battle for Marjah), covers the front lines in Afghanistan. With interviews from military commanders, and Afghan and allied soldiers, he witnesses a surge in arms, men, envoys, and policies upon each return to the battlefield, but nothing seems to halt the rising death toll, terror in the villages, and pushback from a determined enemy. When the vigilant British troops hand the fighting over to the American military units in that region, they have suffered large losses in lives and equipment, leading Anderson to write: "Roger Moore was charming but the fighting was spiraling out of control, and John Wayne, Ted Nugent, and Ice-T had been sent to finish things off." The Yanks, despite major firepower and more soldiers, do not fare much better, and gone is the talk of liberation, replaced by goals of stifling the Taliban and denying al-Qaeda a haven. Similar to Michael Herr's high-octane Vietnam War classic, Dispatches, Anderson delivers a gritty, brutal, realistic account of British and American troops on the Afghan frontlines in a bitter counterpoint to all the policy concessions and peace chatter.