Ghosts of Afghanistan: Hard Truths and Foreign Myths

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Counterpoint Press, 2011 - History - 437 pages
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A masterful blend of graphic reporting, illuminating interviews, and insightful analysis. Ghosts of Afghanistan is the first account of Afghanistan's turbulent recent history by an independent eyewitness.

Jonathan Steele, an award-winning journalist and commentator, has covered the country since his first visit there as a reporter in 1981. He tracked the Soviet occupation and the communist regime of Najibullah, which held the Western-backed resistance at bay for three years after the Soviets left. He covered the arrival of the Taliban to power in Kabul in 1996, and their retreat from Kandahar under the weight of U.S. bombing in 2001. Most recently Steele has reported from the epicenter of the Taliban resurgence in Helmand.

Ghosts of Afghanistan turns a spotlight on the numerous myths about Afghanistan that have bedeviled foreign policy-makers and driven them to repeat earlier mistakes. Steele has conducted numerous interviews with ordinary Afghans, two of the country's Communist presidents, senior Soviet occupation officials, as well as Taliban leaders, Western diplomats, NATO advisers, and United Nations negotiators.

Comparing the challenges facing the Obama Administration as it seeks to find an exit strategy with those the Kremlin faced in the 1980s, Steele cautions that military victory will elude the West just as it eluded the Kremlin. Showing how and why Soviet efforts to negotiate an end to the war came to nothing, he explains how negotiations today could put a stop to the tragedies of civil war and foreign intervention that have afflicted Afghanistan for three decades.
 

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Contents

Chronology
3
Dramatis Personae
5
Anatomy of Afghan Society
9
Introduction
13
1 Where Are We Now?
19
2 The Soviet Invasion
53
3 The Gorbachev Effect
93
4 Reconciliation Fails
131
9 Back to the Warlords
255
10 Taliban Resurgent
283
The Odd Couple
311
How the War Ends
329
13 The Girl with the Missing Nose
361
14 A Dangerous Neighborhood
379
The Way Forward
391
Acknowledgments
399

5 Mujahedin Disaster
151
6 Taliban Takeover
167
7 Taliban Toppled
215
8 Who Killed Asaq?
241
Notes
401
Bibliography
421
Inex
425
Copyright

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