The American War in Afghanistan: A History

Carter Malkasian. Oxford Univ, $34.95 (544p) ISBN 978-0-19-755077-9
Malkasian (Illusions of Victory), a former adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers a rigorous, blow-by-blow chronicle of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Contending that the U.S. failed to defeat the Taliban because “they fought for Islam and resistance to occupation, values enshrined in Afghan identity,” Malkasian sketches the complex relationship between Taliban leader Mullah Omar and al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, and notes that after the initial success of the American-led invasion in October 2001, the Bush administration became fixated on the war in Iraq, and Afghan president Hamid Karzai failed to build an effective military and police force. In 2006, a vigorous Taliban offensive resulted in “perhaps the toughest fighting the U.S. army experienced since Vietnam.” Malkasian also labels the 2009 surge “a resounding tactical success but a strategic failure,” details President Obama’s struggles to find a suitable exit to the war, and outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the February 2020 peace agreement. Synthesizing a vast array of literature from both sides of the conflict, including Oval Office transcripts and Taliban war poetry, Malkasian gets deep into the weeds, but offers a refreshingly nuanced and well-informed perspective. Foreign policy wonks will savor this comprehensive reckoning with America’s “forever war.” (July)
Reviewed on : 04/30/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Digital Format - 978-0-19-755080-9
Ebook - 978-0-19-755078-6
Ebook - 978-0-19-755079-3
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