As Karen Malpede points out in her introduction to Acts of War, tragedy "arose as a complement to, perhaps also as an antidote to, war." The greatest of the early playwrights wrote from experience—Aeschylus and Sophocles were generals in the Athenian army, and Euripides was a combat veteran. Electronic media reports war instantly, but the stage provides an unrivaled venue for facing the horror of armed conflict on a human scale.This timely anthology of plays by American and British writers bears witness to the realities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for combatants and civilians alike and asks what it means to be a citizen in a democracy at war. From violence on the battlefield and in the cells of Guantanamo to the toll exacted on the homefront, the seven plays collected by Malpede, Messina, and Shuman explore in depth the costs of war. Sometimes with humor or erotic charge, always with compassion and surprising insight, these contemporary plays return to the theater a necessary social edge.
Karen Malpede’s introduction sets the plays in the broader contexts of theater’s roots and recent history, while award-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges provides a foreword.
The United States and its allies have been fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan for a decade in a war that either side could still win. While a gradual drawdown has begun, significant numbers of US combat troops will remain in Afghanistan until at least 2014, perhaps longer, depending on the situation on the ground and the outcome of the US presidential election in 2012. Given the realities of the Taliban’s persistence and the desire of US policymakers—and the public—to find a way out, what can and should be the goals of the US and its allies in Afghanistan?
Afghan Endgames brings together some of the finest minds in the fields of history, strategy, anthropology, ethics, and mass communications to provide a clear, balanced, and comprehensive assessment of the alternatives for restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan. Presenting a range of options—from immediate withdrawal of all coalition forces to the maintenance of an open-ended, but greatly reduced military presence—the contributors weigh the many costs, risks, and benefits of each alternative.
This important book boldly pursues several strands of thought suggesting that a strong, legitimate central government is far from likely to emerge in Kabul; that fewer coalition forces, used in creative ways, may have better effects on the ground than a larger, more conventional presence; and that, even though Pakistan should not be pushed too hard, so as to avoid sparking social chaos there, Afghanistan’s other neighbors can and should be encouraged to become more actively involved. The volume’s editors conclude that while there may never be complete peace in Afghanistan, a self-sustaining security system able to restore order swiftly in the wake of violence is attainable.
A balanced, comprehensive, and clear-eyed survey of the alternative strategies that can be pursued with the hope of restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
Rugged, remote, riven by tribal rivalries and religious violence, Afghanistan seems to many a forsaken country frozen in time. Robert Crews presents a bold challenge to this misperception. During their long history, Afghans have engaged and connected with a wider world, occupying a pivotal position in the Cold War and the decades that followed.
Located at the intersection of Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan has been strategically important for thousands of years. Its ancient routes and strategic position between India, Inner Asia, China, Persia, and beyond has meant the region has been subject to frequent invasions, both peaceful and military. As a result, modern Afghanistan is a culturally and ethnically diverse country, but one divided by conflict, political instability, and by mass displacements of its people. In this magisterial illustrated history, Jonathan L. Lee tells the story of how a small tribal confederacy in a politically and culturally significant but volatile region became a modern nation state.
Drawing on more than forty years of study, Lee places the current conflict in Afghanistan in its historical context and challenges many of the West’s preconceived ideas about the country. Focusing particularly on the powerful Durrani monarchy, which united the country in 1747 and ruled for nearly two and a half centuries, Lee chronicles the origins of the dynasty as clients of Safavid Persia and Mughal India: the reign of each ruler and their efforts to balance tribal, ethnic, regional, and religious factions; the struggle for social and constitutional reform; and the rise of Islamic and Communist factions. Along the way he offers new cultural and political insights from Persian histories, the memoirs of Afghan government officials, British government and India Office archives, and recently released CIA reports and Wikileaks documents. He also sheds new light on the country’s foreign relations, its internal power struggles, and the impact of foreign military interventions such as the “War on Terror.”
Afghanistan in the Cinema
Mark Graham University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A35G73 2010 | Dewey Decimal 791.43658581
In this timely critical introduction to the representation of Afghanistan in film, Mark Graham examines the often surprising combination of propaganda and poetry in films made in Hollywood and the East. Through the lenses of postcolonial theory and historical reassessment, Graham analyzes what these films say about Afghanistan, Islam, and the West and argues that they are integral tools for forming discourse on Afghanistan, a means for understanding and avoiding past mistakes, and symbols of the country's shaky but promising future. Thoughtfully addressing many of the misperceptions about Afghanistan perpetuated in the West, Afghanistan in the Cinema incorporates incisive analysis of the market factors, funding sources, and political agendas that have shaped the films.
The book considers a range of films, beginning with the 1970s epics The Man Who Would Become King and The Horsemen and following the shifts in representation of the Muslim world during the Russian War in films such as The Beast and Rambo III. Graham then moves on to Taliban-era films such as Kandahar, Osama, and Ellipsis, the first Afghan film directed by a woman. Lastly, the book discusses imperialist nostalgia in films such as Charlie Wilson's War and destabilizing visions represented in contemporary works such as The Kite Runner.
Faiz Ahmed Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress KNF68.A366 2017 | Dewey Decimal 349.581
Debunking conventional narratives, Faiz Ahmed presents a vibrant account of the first Muslim-majority country to gain independence, codify its own laws, and ratify a constitution after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Afghanistan, he shows, attracted thinkers eager to craft a modern state within the interpretive traditions of Islamic law and ethics.
An American Engineer in Afghanistan was first published in 1948.The legend of Afghanistan as “The Forbidden Country” grew chiefly from a warning of the British Indian Government which once guarded the Afghan frontier north of the Khyber Pass -- “It is absolutely forbidden to cross this border into Afghanistan.” A glance at the endsheet map in this book will recall its strategic position in the Middle East.When A. C. Jewett entered in 1911 with an escort supplied for his safe transportation to Kabul, he was the first American permitted to live in the country since 1880. He was employed by Habibullah Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, to take charge of installing a hydroelectric plan, and it was during this stay that the first attempts toward modernization were made in Afghanistan. Although he came for only a year, it was eight years before his work was completed. Electrical apparatus had to be hauled over rough mountain passes. The work elephants’ harnesses had to be made by hand. Labor was not skilled and whenever crops were harvested, his deliveries of supplies stopped!Written in a lively, readable style, Jewett’s letters and journal notes tell the story of the land of the Afghans. An isolated country of ancient caravan trails, mull-walled caravansaries, and villages -- it was little touched by Western ideas in the last days of the old monarchy. But forces have been unleashed in Asia which even remote Afghanistan is unlikely to escape. Jewett’s entertaining story will help westerners to understand coming events.
Among the Afghans
Arthur Bonner Duke University Press, 1987 Library of Congress DS371.2.B65 1987 | Dewey Decimal 958.1044
Arthur Bonner, a New York Times reporter with long experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, spent most of 1985 and 1986 in Afghanistan and Pakistan researching the aftermath of the 1979 Soviet invasion of this mountainous, fiercely Islamic country. Bonner made another trip to Pakistan in mid-1987 to test his conclusions against recent events. Bonner therefore brings both recent experience and the sharp eye of a veteran journalist to an analysis of the Afghan situation: the tenacity and courage of the resistance, the massive emmigration, and the toll taken by the seemingly endless conflict on the country and its people. The author has seen both the great and small of Afghanistan--both the seared flesh of the hand that an Afghan mujahidin held in the fire to demonstrate his courage and the geopolitical reasons that impelled the former Soviet Union of set its might and treasure against a people who resisted with a fierce and sometimes (to Western eyes) thoughtless courage. This is the story of these antagonists--sobering, chilling, and finally enlightening.
Blue Hours: A Novel
Daphne Kalotay Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3611.A455B58 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
A mystery linking Manhattan circa 1991 to eastern Afghanistan in 2012, Blue Hours tells of a life-changing friendship between two memorable heroines. When we first meet Mim, she is a recent college graduate who has disavowed her lower middle class roots to befriend Kyra, a dancer and daughter of privilege, until calamity causes their estrangement. Twenty years later, Kyra has gone missing from her NGO’s headquarters in Jalalabad, and Mim—now a recluse in rural New England—embarks on a journey to find her. In its nuance, originality, and moral complexity, Blue Hours becomes an unexpected page-turner.
The Buddhas of Bamiyan
Llewelyn Morgan Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DS375.B36M67 2012 | Dewey Decimal 958.1
For 1,400 years, two colossal Buddhas overlooked the Bamiyan Valley on the Silk Road in Afghanistan. The Buddhas embodied the intersection of East and West, and their destruction by the Taliban in 2001 provoked international outrage. Morgan excavates the layers of meaning these vanished wonders hold for a fractured Afghanistan.
Building the capacity of Afghan special operations forces (SOF) is a key goal of the United States and its coalition partners. This report summarizes key partnering practices and presents findings from SOF partnership case studies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Colombia. The goal is to identify best practices to benefit the development of Afghan SOF, as well as for special operations partnerships beyond Afghanistan.
Sally L. Kitch explores the crisis in contemporary Afghan women’s lives by focusing on two remarkable Afghan professional women working on behalf of their Afghan sisters. Kitch's compelling narrative follows the stories of Judge Marzia Basel and Jamila Afghani from 2005 through 2013, providing an oft-ignored perspective on the personal and professional lives of Afghanistan's women. Contending with the complex dynamics of a society both undergoing and resisting change, Basel and Afghani speak candidly--and critically--of matters like international intervention and patriarchal Afghan culture, capturing the ways in which immense possibility alternates and vies with utter hopelessness. Strongly rooted in feminist theory and interdisciplinary historical and geopolitical analysis, Contested Terrain sheds new light on the struggle against the powerful forces that affect Afghan women's education, health, political participation, livelihoods, and quality of life. The book also suggests how a new dialogue might be started--in which women from across geopolitical boundaries might find common cause for change and rewrite their collective stories.
In 1939 Swiss travel writer and journalist Ella K. Maillart set off on an epic journey from Geneva to Kabul with fellow writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach in a brand new Ford. As the first European women to travel alone on Afghanistan’s Northern Road, Maillart and Schwarzenbach had a rare glimpse of life in Iran and Afghanistan at a time when their borders were rarely crossed by Westerners. As the two flash across Europe and the Near East in a streak of élan and daring, Maillart writes of comical mishaps, breathtaking landscapes, vitriolic religious clashes, and the ingenuity with which the women navigated what was often a dangerous journey. In beautiful, clear-eyed prose, The Cruel Way shows Maillart’s great ability to explore and experience other cultures in writing both lyrical and deeply empathetic.
While the core of the book is the journey itself and their interactions with people oppressed by political conflict and poverty, towards the end of the trip the women’s increasingly troubled relationship takes center stage. By then the glamorous, androgynous Schwarzenbach, whose own account of the trip can be found in All the Roads Are Open, is fighting a losing battle with her own drug addiction, and Maillart’s frustrated attempts to cure her show the profound depth of their relationship.
Complete with thirteen of Maillart’s own photographs from the journey, The Cruel Way is a classic of travel writing, and its protagonists are as gripping and fearless as any in literature.
Dari is the most used language in Afghanistan; all official documents are written in it. This textbook, designed to cover one year of instruction, offers beginning learners a communicative approach to the Dari language that develops the four language skills—speaking, listening, reading, and writing—through culturally relevant activities. The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM with extensive authentic materials, including audio and videos recorded in Afghanistan, to help learners perform tasks and functions in both colloquial and standard forms. Grammar and vocabulary in each thematic lesson are chosen carefully to help learners perform these tasks and functions at an elementary level and beyond.
Dari: An Elementary Textbook prepares learners to perform at level 1+ or 2 on the ILR scale and at the novice high/intermediate low level on the ACTFL scale. Special notes are included for people with experience in Persian to help them learn Dari more efficiently. It is the fifth elementary level textbook published in partnership with the Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR), following Pashto, Tajiki, Uzbek, and Uyghur.
Dari is the most commonly used language in Afghanistan; in fact, all official documents are written in it. This textbook, designed to cover one year of instruction, offers intermediate learners a communicative approach to the Dari language that develops the four language skills—speaking, listening, reading, and writing—through culturally relevant activities. It is accompanied by a CD-ROM with extensive authentic audio and video to help learners perform tasks and functions in both colloquial and standard forms.
Emphasizing task-oriented, communicative activities that develop key language skills, this textbook offers a thematically organized approach to learning the Dari language for intermediate students. The topics discussed feature travel, micro-loans for businesses, shopping, and meeting with officials. Innovations include the functional approach to grammar and an emphasis on integrated skills development. With its various authentic materials, including a DVD with videos filmed in the different regions of Afghanistan and audio by native speakers, students have many opportunities to advance their language skills.
To understand more deeply the tragic events of September 11, 2001, it is critical to know Afghanistan’s recent and turbulent past. Doomed inAfghanistan provides a first-hand account of how failed diplomacy led to an Islamic fundamentalist victory in a war-torn country, and subsequently, to a Taliban takeover and a home for Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist network.
In April of 1992, Phillip Corwin was part of a United Nations team in Afghanistan whose mission was to help ensure the transfer of power from the Soviet-installed communist regime of President Najibullah to an interim government (that would prepare for elections). Without the support of the Soviet Union, Najibullah’s regime crumbled, and he was convinced to resign in favor of a national unity government, with the understanding that he would be evacuated to a neutral country (India). Due to a series of miscalculations and machinations, the U.N.’s diplomatic mission failed. Kabul fell to groups of mujahiddin before Najibullah could be evacuated. The inability of the various mujahiddin factions to unite led to their eventual defeat by the Taliban, who four years later routed Najibullah from his safe haven at the U.N. compound, and executed him.
Corwin gives a vivid account of the seminal event of Najibullah’s failed evacuation and the frenzied negotiations that were unable to forestall the anarchy and chaos that followed.
Designed for classroom use, The First Anglo-Afghan Wars gathers in one volume primary source materials related to the first two wars that Great Britain launched against native leaders of the Afghan region. From 1839 to 1842, and again from 1878 to 1880, Britain fought to expand its empire and prevent Russian expansion into the region's northwest frontier, which was considered the gateway to India, the jewel in Victorian Britain's imperial crown. Spanning from 1817 to 1919, the selections reflect the complex national, international, and anticolonial interests entangled in Central Asia at the time. The documents, each of which is preceded by a brief introduction, bring the nineteenth-century wars alive through the opinions of those who participated in or lived through the conflicts. They portray the struggle for control of the region from the perspectives of women and non-Westerners, as well as well-known figures including Kipling and Churchill. Filled with military and civilian voices, the collection clearly demonstrates the challenges that Central Asia posed to powers attempting to secure and claim the region. It is a cautionary tale, unheeded by Western powers in the post–9/11 era.
A comprehensive review of historical insurgencies that ended in settlement after a military stalemate shows that these negotiations followed a similar path that can be generalized into a “master narrative” of seven steps executed in a common sequence. Such a narrative could help guide and assess the progress of a similar approach to resolving the conflict in Afghanistan as U.S. forces prepare to withdraw.
Globalizing Afghanistan offers a kaleidoscopic view of Afghanistan and the global networks of power, influence, and representation in which it is immersed. The military and nation-building interventions initiated by the United States in reaction to the events of September 11, 2001, are the background and motivation for this collection, but they are not the immediate subject of the essays. Seeking to understand the events of the past decade in a broad frame, the contributors draw on cultural and postcolonial approaches to provide new insights into this ongoing conflict. They focus on matters such as the implications of Afghanistan’s lucrative opium trade, the links between the contemporary Taliban movement and major events in the Islamic world and Central Asia since the early twentieth century, and interactions between transnational feminist organizations and the Afghan women’s movement. Several contributors address questions of representation. One looks at portrayals of Afghan women by the U.S. government and Western media and feminists. Another explores the surprisingly prominent role of Iranian filmmaking in the production of a global cinematic discourse about Afghanistan. A Pakistani journalist describes how coverage of Afghanistan by reporters working from Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa (formerly the North West Frontier Province) has changed over the past decade. This rich panoply of perspectives on Afghanistan concludes with a reflection on how academics might produce meaningful alternative viewpoints on the exercise of American power abroad.
Contributors. Gwen Bergner, Maliha Chishti, Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims, Nigel C. Gibson, Zubeda Jalalzai, David Jefferess, Altaf Ullah Khan, Kamran Rastegar, Rodney J. Steward, Imre Szeman
“A must read for all who continue to grapple with the twin legacy of hatred and hope from September 11. . . “*
International terrorism expert Roland Jacquard’s In the Name of Osama bin Laden presents a dramatic portrait of the world's most wanted terrorist and his extensive brotherhood--the network of people who operate “in his name.” Published originally in France the very week of September 11, as events in the United States shook the world, the book has become an international bestseller. Jacquard details how bin Laden became an international emblem of fundamentalist, pan-Islamic, anti-U.S. fervor and the leader of a brotherhood so passionate that devotees who have never met him will act autonomously in his name. The author explains the global character of bin Laden’s organization, elaborating the extent of his sphere of influence in Europe and Asia. Jacquard reveals the construction of bin Laden’s networks—including a profile of his inner circle—and their collaboration with overlapping webs of banking, drug trafficking, religious, and terrorist organizations. He considers the brotherhood’s access to biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons and warns that, with or without bin Laden, this global terrorist force will remain a threat. Now in English, this edition has been substantially updated in light of recent world events and expanded to include previously unpublished materials, featuring a new introduction and afterword. New documents include an April 2001 interview by the author with bin Laden; a September 24 proclamation by bin Laden to Muslims in Pakistan; and a key page from Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s book justifying eternal jihad, which was smuggled out of Afghanistan in October 2001.
Intervention Narratives examines the contradictory cultural representations of the US intervention in Afghanistan that help to justify an imperial foreign policy. These narratives involve projecting Afghans as brave anti-communist warriors who suffered the consequences of American disengagement with the region following the end of the Cold War, as victimized women who can be empowered through enterprise, as innocent dogs who need to be saved by US soldiers, and as terrorists who deserve punishment for 9/11. Given that much of public political life now involves affect rather than knowledge, feelings rather than facts, familiar recurring tropes of heroism, terrorism, entrepreneurship, and canine love make the war easier to comprehend and elicit sympathy for US military forces. An indictment of US policy, Bose demonstrates that contemporary imperialism operates on an ideologically diverse cultural terrain to enlist support for the war across the political spectrum.
This study explores Iranian influence in Afghanistan and the implications for the United States after most U.S. forces depart Afghanistan in 2016. Iran has substantial economic, political, cultural, and religious leverage in Afghanistan. Although Iran will attempt to shape a post-2014 Afghanistan, Iran and the United States share core interests: to prevent the country from again becoming dominated by the Taliban and a safe haven for al Qaeda.
Shortly before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, David Chaffetz slipped from the protection of Western culture and immersed himself in the customs, fears, and hopes of the Afghan people, setting out by car and on horseback for a long journey through the northwestern quarter of the country. A Journey through Afghanistan is the story, told in vivid, descriptive prose, of his experience—an account that reveals more about the Afghan people themselves than most books written either before or since.
The Language of Birds
Norbert Scheuer Haus Publishing, 2018 Library of Congress PT2680.E84S6713 2018 | Dewey Decimal 833.914
It is 2003, and Paul Arimond is serving as a paramedic in Afghanistan. The twenty-four-year-old has no illusions of becoming a hero. Rather, he has chosen the army to escape the tragedies of his past and his own feelings of guilt. As a result, he finds himself in the same land, now war-torn, where an ancestor of his, Ambrosius Arimond, a late eighteenth-century traveler and ornithologist, once explored and developed the theory of a universal language of birds.
As visceral horrors and everyday banalities of the war threaten to engulf Paul, he, like his great-great-grandfather, finds his very own refuge in Afghanistan’s natural world. In a diary filled with exquisite drawings of birds and ruminations on the life he left behind, Paul describes his experiences living with two comrades who are fighting their own demons and his befriending of an Afghan man, Nassim, as well as his dreams of escaping the restrictive base camp and visiting the shores of a lake visible from the lookout tower. But when he finally reaches the lake one night, he finds himself in the midst of a chain of events that, with his increasingly fragile state of mind, has dramatic—and ultimately heartbreaking—consequences.
A meditative novel that shows a new side to the conflict in Afghanistan, The Language of Birds takes a moving look at the all-too-human costs of war and questions what it truly means to fight for freedom.
In Latinamericanism after 9/11, John Beverley explores Latinamericanist cultural theory in relation to new modes of political mobilization in Latin America. He contends that after 9/11, the hegemony of the United States and the neoliberal assumptions of the so-called Washington Consensus began to fade in Latin America. At the same time, the emergence in Latin America of new leftist governments—the marea rosada or “pink tide”—gathered momentum. Whatever its outcome, the marea rosada has shifted the grounds of Latinamericanist thinking in a significant way. Beverley proposes new paradigms better suited to Latin America’s reconfigured political landscape. In the process, he takes up matters such as Latin American postcolonial and cultural studies, the relation of deconstruction and Latinamericanism, the persistence of the national question and cultural nationalism in Latin America, the neoconservative turn in recent Latin American literary and cultural criticism, and the relation between subalternity and the state. Beverley’s perspective flows out of his involvement with the project of Latin American subaltern studies, but it also defines a position that is in some ways postsubalternist. He takes particular issue with recent calls for a “posthegemonic” politics.
Artemy Kalinovsky Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DK68.7.A6K35 2011 | Dewey Decimal 958.1045
Why did the USSR linger so long in Afghanistan? What makes this account of the Soviet-Afghan conflict both timely and important is its focus on the factors that prevented the Soviet leadership from ending a demoralizing and costly war and on the long-term consequences for the Soviet Union and the region.
Mission Uruzgan provides on-site testimony of the Dutch military mission in Uruzgan, Afghanistan from 2001 to the present day. Proffering fresh data and probing analyses, this extensive examination of a controversial deployment addresses a variety of crucial issues related to Dutch involvement in Afghanistan, from the politicking that led up to the utilization of military tactics to the rules of engagement on the ground. This collection brings together an assortment of learned scholars to deliver a wide range of insights into the problems faced by Dutch soldiers.
Operation Homecoming is the result of a major initiative launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to bring distinguished writers to military bases to inspire U.S. soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and their families to record their wartime experiences. Encouraged by such authors as Tom Clancy, Tobias Wolff, and Marilyn Nelson, American military personnel and their loved ones wrote candidly about what they saw, heard, and felt while in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as on the home front. These unflinching eyewitness accounts, private journals, short stories, and letters offer an intensely revealing look into extraordinary lives and are an unforgettable contribution to wartime literature.
“One of the chanted mantras of our time is, ‘But I support the troops.’ Terrific. Now read Operation Homecoming to find out who they are, what they think, feel, want, have learned, won and lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.”—Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal
“This anthology is the honest voice of war. . . . In the end, they are all one voice, a voice we must hear, and must not forget.”—Jeff Shaara
“These voices are stirring, chilling, and unforgettable.”—Bobbie Ann Mason
“[Captures] what journalists cannot, no matter how close they get—firsthand accounts from the warriors and the families they leave behind.”—ChicagoTribune
The first rule of warfare is to know one’s enemy. The second is to know thyself. More than fifteen years and three quarters of a trillion dollars after the US invasion of Afghanistan, it’s clear that the United States followed neither rule well.
America’s goals in Afghanistan were lofty to begin with: dismantle al Qaeda, remove the Taliban from power, remake the country into a democracy. But not only did the mission come completely unmoored from reality, the United States wasted billions of dollars, and thousands of lives were lost. Our Latest Longest War is a chronicle of how, why, and in what ways the war in Afghanistan failed. Edited by historian and Marine lieutenant colonel Aaron B. O’Connell, the essays collected here represent nine different perspectives on the war—all from veterans of the conflict, both American and Afghan. Together, they paint a picture of a war in which problems of culture and an unbridgeable rural-urban divide derailed nearly every field of endeavor. The authors also draw troubling parallels to the Vietnam War, arguing that deep-running ideological currents in American life explain why the US government has repeatedly used armed nation-building to try to transform failing states into modern, liberal democracies. In Afghanistan, as in Vietnam, this created a dramatic mismatch of means and ends that neither money, technology, nor the force of arms could overcome.
The war in Afghanistan has been the longest in US history, and in many ways, the most confounding. Few who fought in it think it has been worthwhile. These are difficult topics for any American or Afghan to consider, especially those who lost friends or family in it. This sobering history—written by the very people who have been fighting the war—is impossible to ignore.
Although Greece acquired the formal institutions of liberal constitutional democracy early in her independent history, her politics have been characterized by clientelism, instability and frequent military intervention. The most blatant instance of 'praetorianism' was the military dictatorship of 1967-74. Yet in the years since the Colonels' downfall, the political system appears to have acquired a new legitimacy. Although many features of the 'old' politics remain, recent years have seen the collapse of the traditional centre and the emergence of new political formations, reflecting the rapid pace of post-war socio-economic change. And 1981 saw the election by a convincing majority of a socialist government, the first ever in Greece, committed to radical domestic transformation and to a major reorientation of external relations.
Challenging several longstanding notions about the American way of war, this book examines US strategic and operational practice from 1775 to 2014. It surveys all major US wars from the War of Independence to the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as most smaller US conflicts to determine what patterns, if any, existed in American uses of force. Contrary to many popular sentiments, Echevarria finds that the American way of war is not astrategic, apolitical, or defined by the use of overwhelming force. Instead, the American way of war was driven more by political considerations than military ones, and the amount of force employed was rarely overwhelming or decisive.
As a scholar of Clausewitz, Echevarria borrows explicitly from the Prussian to describe the American way of war not only as an extension of US policy by other means, but also the continuation of US politics by those means. The book’s focus on strategic and operational practice closes the gap between critiques of American strategic thinking and analyses of US campaigns. Echevarria discovers that most conceptions of American strategic culture fail to hold up to scrutiny, and that US operational practice has been closer to military science than to military art.
Providing a fresh look at how America’s leaders have used military force historically and what that may mean for the future, this book should be of interest to military practitioners and policymakers, students and scholars of military history and security studies, and general readers interested in military history and the future of military power.
Shakespeare in Kabul
Stephen Landrigan and Qais Akbar Omar Haus Publishing, 2012 Library of Congress PR3109.A44O53 2012 | Dewey Decimal 792.9209581
In 2005, a group of actors in Kabul performed Shakespeare's Love’s Labour's Lost to the cheers of Afghan audiences and the raves of foreign journalists. For the first time in years, men and women had appeared onstage together. The future held no limits, the actors believed. In this fast-moving, fondly told and frequently very funny account, Qais Akbar Omar and Stephen Landrigan capture the triumphs and foibles of the actors as they extend their Afghan passion for poetry to Shakespeare's.Both authors were part of the production. Qais, a journalist, served as Assistant Director and interpreter for Paris actress, Corinne Jaber, who had come to Afghanistan on holiday and returned to direct the play. Stephen, himself a playwright, assembled a team of Afghan translators to fashion a script in Dari as poetic as Shakespeare's. This chronicle of optimism plays out against the heartbreak of knowing that things in Afghanistan have not turned out the way the actors expected.
Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran,Marjane Satrapi’s comics, and “Baghdad Blogger” Salam Pax’s Internet diary are just a few examples of the new face of autobiography in an age of migration, globalization, and terror. But while autobiography and other genres of life writing can help us attend to people whose experiences are frequently unseen and unheard, life narratives can also be easily co-opted into propaganda. In Soft Weapons, Gillian Whitlock explores the dynamism and ubiquity of contemporary life writing about the Middle East and shows how these works have been packaged, promoted, and enlisted in Western controversies.
Considering recent autoethnographies of Afghan women, refugee testimony from Middle Eastern war zones, Jean Sasson’s bestsellers about the lives of Arab women, Norma Khouri’s fraudulent memoir Honor Lost, personal accounts by journalists reporting the war in Iraq, Satrapi’s Persepolis, Nafisi’s book, and Pax’s blog, Whitlock explores the contradictions and ambiguities in the rapid commodification of life memoirs. Drawing from the fields of literary and cultural studies, Soft Weapons will be essential reading for scholars of life writing and those interested in the exchange of literary culture between Islam and the West.
The Taliban remain one of the most elusive forces in modern history. A ragtag collection of clerics and madrasa students, this obscure movement emerged out of the rubble of the Cold War to shock the world with their draconian Islamic order. The Taliban refused to surrender their vision even when confronted by the United States after September 11, 2001. Reinventing themselves as part of a broad insurgency that destabilized Afghanistan, they pledged to drive out the Americans, NATO, and their allies and restore their "Islamic Emirate."
The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan explores the paradox at the center of this challenging phenomenon: how has a seemingly anachronistic band of religious zealots managed to retain a tenacious foothold in the struggle for Afghanistan's future? Grounding their analysis in a deep understanding of the country's past, leading scholars of Afghan history, politics, society, and culture show how the Taliban was less an attempt to revive a medieval theocracy than a dynamic, complex, and adaptive force rooted in the history of Afghanistan and shaped by modern international politics. Shunning journalistic accounts of its conspiratorial origins, the essays investigate broader questions relating to the character of the Taliban, its evolution over time, and its capacity to affect the future of the region.
Offering an invaluable guide to "what went wrong" with the American reconstruction project in Afghanistan, this book accounts for the persistence of a powerful and enigmatic movement while simultaneously mapping Afghanistan's enduring political crisis.
On September 11, 2001, the United States was without a plan for military operations in Afghanistan. One was quickly created by the Defense Department and operations began October 7. The Taliban was toppled in less than two months. This report describes preparations at CENTCOM and elsewhere, Army operations and support activities, building a coalition, and civil-military operations in Afghanistan from October 2001 through June 2002.
Under the Drones
Shahzad Bashir Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DS357.6.P18U53 2012 | Dewey Decimal 958.10471
Western media coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan paints a simplistic picture of ageless barbarity, terrorist safe havens, and peoples in need of either punishment or salvation. Under the Drones looks beyond this limiting view to investigate real people on the ground, and analyze the political, social, and economic forces that shape their lives.
Diplomatic efforts to resolve the Afghanistan crisis began almost immediately after the Soviet Union’s military intervention in that country in December 1979. Untying the Afghan Knot offers the first detailed account of the diplomatic process set in motion by that intervention and culminating in the April 1988 Geneva Accords—a milestone in multilateralism and United Nations (UN) peacemaking. Riaz M. Khan, a senior Pakistani diplomat, participated actively in all meetings on Afghanistan in the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and in all of the Geneva negotiating rounds (1882–1988). Drawing upon his personal experience, official documents, scholarly literature, and press accounts, he provides a unique insider’s view of these precedent-setting negotiations, which were often shrouded in secrecy and misperceptions. Khan examines the interests, positions, and behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the major players—Afghan governments and resistance groups, Pakistan, the Soviet Union, the United States, and UN mediators—and assesses the impact of military and political developments inside Afghanistan and elsewhere, including the advent of Mikhail Gorbachev. Khan’s authoritative account of these critical diplomatic initiatives sheds important light on the internal dynamics of the multilateral Afghanistan negotiations.
This book is the first to analyze the institutions, successes, and failures of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the pro-Soviet regime that sought to dominate the country during the years of the Soviet military presence. Antonio Giustozzi explores the military, political, and social strategies of the predominantly urban and Marxist regime as it struggled—and ultimately failed—to win the support of a largely rural and Islamic population.
Drawing on many Soviet materials not previously used by Western writers, including unpublished Red Army documents and interviews with participants, Giustozzi provides valuable new insights into the cold war and the rise of Islamic revolt.