Afghanistan: The Soviet War

Edward Giradet, Author St. Martin's Press $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-00923-6
In light of the scarcity of reliable information up to now, this informed appraisal of the war in Afghanistan is most welcome. Girardet, a correspondent for the MacNeil-Lehrer Report and formerly the Christian Science Monitor's correspondent in Afghanistan, addresses Soviet motives and ultimate objectives, the degree of U.S. involvement and the likely outcome. Based on information gathered in several trips and many interviews, the book reveals the pitiless application of Soviet anti-insurgency techniques against a primarily peasant resistance movement which, after six years, is still holding its own. The war costs the Kremlin between three and four billion dollars a year, with perhaps 40,000 Soviet soldiers already killed, and no end in sight. Girardet observes a similarity between this situation and American involvement in Vietnam. In cool, careful prose, he depicts the nightmare of aerial bombardment, armored ground assaults, brutal reprisals and gas attacks against villages. The book is in the highest tradition of war reporting, conveying not only the unique quality of the fighting itself but the social and political implications as well. January 6
Reviewed on: 12/02/1985
Release date: 12/01/1985
Genre: Nonfiction
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