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The definitive book on the war in Afghanistan by award-winning journalist Christina Lamb. Crouched in a ditch in Helmand, with Taliban gunfire exploding around her, Christina Lamb found herself wondering what the British troops at her side were achieving. Twenty years earlier, she had cowered in a ditch in nearby Kandahar, only that time under Russian fire and alongside Afghans who later became Taliban. Today, the war in Afghanistan - at one point hailed by the U.S. as 'a breathtaking success' - has sucked in 140,000 troops. Meanwhile, 70 per cent of terror plots trace to neighbouring Pakistan. How did this happen? Lamb travels both countries seeking answers. She visits Karzai's palace in Kabul, where she finds him pacing a walled garden with snipers on the roof and two baby deer for company. Then to Heart, where she meets with a group of women writers who risked their lives under the Taliban and are once again living in fear. In Peshawar, she discovers mosques openly raising money to fight Americans, while in Quetta she meets Taliban ministers freely recruiting. In Karachi, she spends days with Benazir Bhutto, whose dream of saving Pakistan would end in tragedy. Lamb's riveting account reveals a textbook case of how not to run a war. It is a tale of international confusion, competing military operations, civilian casualties and payoffs. But the real problem is Pakistan, where that country's dictator takes billions of U.S. dollars even as Pakistani intelligence helps to train enemies of the West. With unparalleled access to key players, from top officials in Washington, London, Islamabad and Kabul, to Taliban and Pakistani spies, Lamb traces the conflict back to the 1980s, when the CIA decided to use Islam as rallying cry against the Soviets. Unflinching and insightful, this definitive account of the West's involvement in Afghanistan is vital reading for anyone who wants to know: are we fighting the wrong war?
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