Browse books providing context for the crisis in Afghanistan.
No good men among the living : America, the Taliban, and the war through Afghan eyes / Anand Gopal – As U.S. troops prepare to withdraw, the shocking tale of how the American military had triumph in sight in Afghanistan–and then brought the Taliban back from the dead. In the popular imagination, Afghanistan is often regarded as the site of intractable conflict, the American war against the Taliban a perpetually hopeless quagmire. But as Anand Gopal demonstrates in this stunning chronicle, top Taliban leaders were in fact ready to surrender within months of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, renouncing all political activity and submitting to the new government. Effectively, the Taliban ceased to exist–yet the American forces were not ready to accept such a turnaround.
Afghanistan : a cultural and political history / Thomas Barfield – This work traces the historic struggles and the changing nature of political authority in this volatile region of the world, from the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century to the Taliban resurgence today. The author introduces readers to the bewildering diversity of tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, explaining what unites them as Afghans despite the regional, cultural, and political differences that divide them.
Afghanistan : a history from 1260 to the present / Jonathan L. Lee – Located at the intersection of Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan has been strategically important for thousands of years. Its ancient trade routes and strategic position between India, Inner Asia, China, Persia and beyond has meant the region has been subject to frequent invasions. Modern Afghanistan is a culturally and ethnically diverse country, but one divided by conflict, political instability and by mass displacements of its people. Jonathan L. Lee places the current conflict in Afghanistan in its historical context and challenges many of the West’s preconceived ideas about the country.
The broken circle : a memoir of escaping Afghanistan / Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller – Before the Soviet invasion of 1980, Enjeela Ahmadi remembers her home–Kabul, Afghanistan–as peaceful, prosperous, and filled with people from all walks of life. But after her mother, unsettled by growing political unrest, leaves for medical treatment in India, the civil war intensifies, changing young Enjeela’s life forever. Amid the rumble of invading Soviet tanks, Enjeela and her family are thrust into chaos and fear when it becomes clear that her mother will not be coming home. Thus begins an epic, reckless, and terrifying five-year journey of escape for Enjeela, her siblings, and their father to reconnect with her mother.
Dancing in the mosque / Homeira Qaderi – In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. But the joy of her beautiful son’s birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life. No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women’s rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society. Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mother’s searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind.
Directorate S : the C.I.A. and America’s secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan / Steve Coll – This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Nothing less than a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shape world history, Directorate S is a complete masterpiece of both investigative and narrative journalism.
Every man in this village is a liar : an education in war / Megan K. Stack – “Every Man in This Village Is a Liar” is LA Times reporter Megan K. Stack’s riveting account of what she saw in the combat zones of the Middle East, in war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan, and beyond. She relates her initial wild excitement and her slow disillusionment as the cost of violence outweighs the elusive promise of freedom and democracy.
Forbidden lessons in a Kabul guesthouse : the true story of a woman who risked everything to bring hope to Afghanistan / Suraya Sadeed with Damien Lewis – From her first humanitarian visit to Afghanistan in 1994, Suraya Sadeed has been personally delivering relief and hope to Afghan orphans and refugees, to women and girls in inhuman situations deemed too dangerous for other aid workers or for journalists. Her memoir of these missions is as unconventional as the woman who has lived it. Here, she shares her story of passion, courage, and love, painting a complex portrait of Afghanistan and its people that defies every stereotype and invites us all to hope.
A fort of nine towers : an Afghan family story / Qais Akbar Omar – A young Afghan man’s memoir of his family and country in which the horrors and perils he faced, his imprisonment, and his quiet resistance explore life in a country whose history has become deeply entwined with the United States, but has eluded understanding.
Greetings from Afghanistan, send more ammo : dispatches from Taliban country / Benjamin Tupper – A captain in the Army National Guard and an embedded trainer with the Afghan National Army describes the challenges of war and provides a multifaceted view of Afghan culture and the daily life of American soldiers stationed in that region.
In Afghanistan : 200 years of British, Russian and American occupation / David Loyn – Chronicles the military conflicts of Afghanistan throughout the past two centuries, evaluating the roles of misunderstanding and broken agreements and offering perspectives on how foreign occupiers underestimated Afghani capabilities.
The hardest place : the American military adrift in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley / Wesley Morgan – When we think of the war in Afghanistan, chances are we’re thinking of a small, remote corner of the country where American military action has been concentrated: the Pech and its tributary valleys in Kunar and Nuristan provinces. The rugged, steep terrain and thick forests made the region a natural hiding spot for targets in the American war on terror, from Osama bin Laden to the Islamic State, and it has been the site of constant U.S. military activity for nearly two decades. Even as the U.S. presence in Afghanistan transitions to a drone war, the Pech has remained at the center of it, a testbed for a new method of remote warfare.
Shooting ghosts : a U.S. Marine, a combat photographer, and their journey back from war / Thomas J. Brennan, USMC (Ret.), and Finbarr O’Reilly – Through the unpredictability of war and its aftermath, a decorated Marine sergeant and a world-trotting war photographer became friends, their bond forged as they patrolled together through the dusty alleyways of Helmand province and camped side by side in the desert. Their story, told in alternating first-person narratives, is about the things they saw and did, the ways they have been affected, and how they have navigated the psychological aftershocks of war and wrestled with reforming their own identities and moral centres.