I’ve just finished reading Christina Lamb’s latest book ‘FAREWELL KABUL. From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World’ and discovered that I unknowingly walked in her footsteps into Zumbalay – with much the same outcome.
The book asks just how the might of NATO, with 48 countries and 140,000 troops on the ground, failed to defeat a group of religious students and farmers? How did it go so wrong?
FAREWELL KABUL tells how the West turned success into defeat in the longest war fought by the United States in its history and by Britain since the Hundred Years War. It is the story of well-intentioned men and women going into a place they did not understand at all. And how, what had once been the right thing to do had become a conflict that everyone wanted to exit.
During my own FFUI (Find, Feel, Understand, Inform) patrols the locals I spoke with would often exasperatedly and painstakingly explain to me that the Taliban were funded by the US via Pakistan. Although this view was widespread and heartfelt I dismissed it as a distortion of the truth. Christina Lamb has forced me to re-appraise this view.
It is less a question of whether or not the US funded the Taliban via Pakistan but whether they did so knowingly, negligently or naively. Christina Lamb’s credentials as a war reporter are impeccable but Farewell Kabul is likely to spawn a number of conspiracy theories and, sadly, some of them will be true.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.