Afghanistan - Resource Material

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by Bumper, Sep 7, 2009.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Given the poverty of debate in the UK on the geopolitics and doctrine, (whatever it may be this month), of the Afghan War I thought some might find the following links and resources of interest.

    Right or wrong, there are people around who are trying to think through things with some measure of sincerity rather than the constant flow of political knee jerk sound bites which we constantly endure from the press and Westminster. That of course doesn't infer that they are either right just because their thoughts are on the Interweb or that anyone is listening but nonetheless, no one has exclusivity on what the right approach is and, the web is the only open forum available.

    Few people understand all the issues in their totality and I'm not one of them. I was interested to learn, for example, that the Helmand Valley Project, undertaken and funded by the Americans after 1945 and which lasted for many years ended in failure. It's aim, to build infrastructure in Helmund and to settle nomadic tribes. Read more here

    A good central point for on line blogs can be found here

    A few that I dip into now and again include,

    and Stratfor which unfortunately is a subscription service

    Please feel free to add any other resource links or material.

  2. Bumper,

    Very useful. Will add to it as and when.

  3. Why do you read Defence of the Realm - a load of bollox written by a bloke who ignores the experiences of people in the know.
  4. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Top plan gents.

    For all those who like their learning papery, here is an Afghan Reading List, chosen for availability on Amazon etc.

    1. Afghan History:

    Islam and Politics in Afghanistan (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies: Studies in Asian Topics)
    by Asta Olesen

    Afghanistan: A History of Conflict
    by John C. Griffiths

    Afghanistan: A Modern History
    by Angelo Rasanayagam

    The Pathans: 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957. With a new epilogue (Oxford in Asia Historical Reprints)
    by Olaf Caroe

    A History of Pashtun Migration, 1775-2006
    by Robert Nichols

    Afghanistan (Oxford Pakistan paperbacks)
    by Louis Dupree

    Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Present
    by Stephen Tanner

    Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival
    by Amin Saikal

    Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia
    by Ahmed Rashid

    Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007
    by Antonio Giustozzi

    Afghanistan - Aid, Armies and Empires
    by Peter Marsden

    Empires of Mud: Wars and Warlords in Afghanistan
    by Antonio Giustozzi

    Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field
    by Antonio Giustozzi

    The Search for Security in Post-Taliban Afghanistan (Adelphi Papers)
    by Cyrus Hodes, Mark Sedra

    Beyond Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Lessons from Development Experience
    by John D. Montgomery, Dennis A. Rondinelli

    The Taliban and the Crisis of Afghanistan
    by Robert Crews , Amin Tarzi, Robert D. Crews

    After the Taliban: Nation-building in Afghanistan
    by James F. Dobbins

    Afghanistan: The Mirage of Peace
    by Chris Johnson , Jolyon Leslie

    The Fragmentation of Afghanistan
    by BR Rubin

    Afghanistan's Uncertain Transition from Turmoil to Normalcy (Csr)
    by Barnett R. Rubin

    2. Afghan Military:

    a. General

    The Afghan Wars: 1839-1919
    by Tony Heathcote

    The Savage Frontier: A History of the Anglo-Afghan Wars
    by D.S. Richards

    The Khyber Pass: A History of Empire and Invasion
    by Paddy Docherty

    The Savage Border: The Story of the North-West Frontier
    by Jules Stewart

    The Khyber Rifles: From the British Raj to Al Qaeda
    by Jules Stewart

    The Crimson Snow
    by Jules Stewart

    The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia
    by Peter Hopkirk

    Spying for Empire: The Great Game in Central and South-East Asia, 1757-1947 [Illustrated]
    by Robert Johnson

    Spying for the Raj: The Pundits and the Mapping of the Himalaya
    by Jules Stewart

    Endgame : Britain, Russia, and the Final Struggle for Central Asia: Britain, Russia and the Final Struggle for Central Asia (International Library of Historical Studies)
    by Paul Kennedy , Jennifer Siegel

    Frontier Scouts
    Charles Chevenix Trench

    b. 19th Century

    The March to Kandahar
    by Rodney Atwood

    Britain in Afghanistan 1: the First Afghan War 1839-42
    by Archibald Forbes

    Britain in Afghanistan 2: the Second Afghan War 1878-80
    by Archibald Forbes

    The First Afghan War And Its Causes
    by Sir Henry Marion Durand

    Kabul Catastrophe: The Invasion and Retreat 1839-1842 (Prion Lost Treasures)
    by Patrick Macrory, General Sir Michael Rose

    The Road to Kabul: The Second Afghan War, 1878- 1881
    by Brian Robson

    c. 20th Century

    Crisis on the Frontier: The Third Afghan War and the Campaign in Waziristan 1919-1920
    by Brian Robson

    Third Afghan War 1919 Official Account
    by Army Hq India

    Official History of Operations on the North-West Frontier of India 1920-1935
    by Government of India

    The Other Side of the Mountain: v. 3: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet Afghan War
    by A. Jalali, Lester W. Grau

    Afghan Guerrilla Warfare: In the Words of the Mujahideen Fighters
    by Alli Ahmad Jalali , Lester W. Grau, John E. Rhodes

    Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story
    by Vladislav Tamarov

    The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan (Soviet (Russian) Study of War)
    by Lester W. Grau (Editor)

    The Hidden War: A Russian Journalist's Account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan
    by Artyom Borovik

    The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost (Modern War Studies)
    by The Russian General Staff , Lester W. Grau, Michael A. Gress

    d. Contemporary Operations

    A Million Bullets: The Real Story of the War in Afghanistan
    by James Fergusson

    Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden
    by Steve Coll

    The Battle for Afghanistan
    by Mohammad Yousaf , Mark Adkin

    Battlefield Afghanistan: Hurt Locker: The Inside Story of Coalition Forces on the Front Line
    by Mike Ryan

    3 Para
    by Patrick Bishop

    3. Travel, Diaries, Memoirs:

    The Places in Between [Unabridged]
    by Rory Stewart

    An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan
    by Jason Elliot

    On the Road to Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict in the Islamic World
    by Jason Burke

    A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush [Special Edition]
    by Eric Newby

    Among the Mountains: Travels Through Asia
    by Wilfred Thesiger

    Baechtold's Best: Afghanistan: The Ultimate Visual Travel Guide
    by Deborah Aaronson

    Afghanistan (Lonely Planet Country Guide)
    by Paul Clammer

    The Sewing Circles of Herat: My Afghan Years
    by Christina Lamb

    Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan
    by Ann Jones

    Afghanistan, Where God Only Comes to Weep
    by Siba Shakib

    Samira and Samir: The Heart Rendering Story of Love and Oppression in Afghanistan
    by Siba Shakib

    Come Back to Afghanistan: My Journey from California to Kabul
    by Said Hyder Akbar , Susan Burton

    The Punishment of Virtue: Walking the Frontline of the War on Terror with a Woman Who Has Made it Her Home
    by Sarah Chayes

    Shadow of the Silk Road
    by Colin Thubron

    4. Language & Culture

    Frontier of Faith: Islam in the Indo-Afghan Borderland
    by Sana Haroon

    Pashtun Tales: From the Pakistan-Afghan Border (Paperback)
    by Aisha Ahmad , Roger Boase

    Dari-English / English-Dari Dictionary and Phrasebook (Hippocrene dictionaries & phrasebooks)
    by Nicholas Awde

    Beginner's Dari (Hippocrene Beginner's)
    by Shaista Wahab

    Accent on Afghanistan - Dari: The Language and Culture of Afghanistan [Audiobook] (Audio CD)
    by Accent on Languages

    English-Dari Phrasebook for Aid Workers
    by Robert Powers , Mir Abdul Zahir Sahebi

    Pashto-English/English-Pashto Dictionary and Phrasebook (Hippocrene Dictionary & Phrasebooks)
    by Nicholas Awde , Asmatullah Sarwan

    Accent on Afghanistan: The Language and Culture of Afghanistan
    by Accent on Languages

    Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide (Odyssey Afghanistan)
    by Bijan Omrani , Matthew Leeming

    Afghan Women: Identity and Invasion
    by Elaheh Rostami-Povey

    Women of Courage: Changing Role of Afghan Women
    by Katherine Kiviat

    Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future
    by S. Wali (Foreword), Sunita Mehta (Editor), Fahima Danishgar (Editor)

    5. Novels

    Swallows of Kabul
    by Yasmina Khadra

    The Kite Runner
    by Khaled Hosseini

    A Thousand Splendid Suns
    by Khaled Hosseini

    Born Under a Million Shadows
    by Andrea Busfield

    The Bookseller of Kabul
    by Åsne Seierstad

    6. Other Useful Books:

    The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia
    by Lutz Kleveman

    The Dust of Empire: The Race for Supremacy in the Asian Heartland
    by Karl Meyer

    War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet
    by Eric Margolis

    Spy of the Heart
    by Robert Abdul Hayy Darr

    Operations in Waziristan 1919-1920
    by Army Headquar Compiled by General Staff

    From the Black Mountain to Waziristan 2003: Being an Account of the Border Countries and the More Turbulent of the Tribes Controlled by the North-West ... Our Military Relations with Them in the Past
    by H. C. Wylly

    Waziristan 1936-1937: The Problems of the North-West Frontiers of India and Their Solutions
    by Lieut. Colone Bruce

    Imperial Frontier: Tribe and State in Waziristan
    by Dr Hugh Beattie , Hugh Beattie

    Flying Blind: A Memoir of Biplane Operations Over Waziristan in the Last Days of British Rule in India by Geoffrey Morley-Mower

    Resistance and Control in Pakistan by Akbar S. Ahmed

    Religion and Politics in Muslim Society: Order and Conflict in Pakistan by Akbar S. Ahmed
  5. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Whet, people can make their own mind up about Defence of the Realm. There is a lot I dont entirely agree with but there is equally a great deal of analysis that is spot on. Don't thrown the baby out with the bath water

    The blogging medium encourages in depth debate and detail, the mainstream media are fine for news but for analysis, forget it. The defence correspondants in the braodsheets, TV and tabloids have very little credibility. The FT does have some good analysis from their obvious business related aspects.

    The blog I like the best is

    It is focussed on central asia and has a real in depth and insightful range of articles
  6. Just read the first link on the HVA. What an absolute cracker.
  7. What is often missed in the tactical/strategic view is just what an environmental basket case Afghanistan is. The place has reverted to a toxic desert, due to war, greed and sheer bl**dy ignorance and stupidity.
    Wikipedia has some useful links, as does this.

    There is an interesting allegation that the Soviets used chemical weapons. It might be a nice idea if someone could map the areas they used them in, just in case someone decides to put a FOB in the wrong place...

    Irrigation is the key. The River Helmand is currently running at about 10% of its original level, because the upper catchments have been stripped of trees, have then lost all the topsoil, and now don't store water. Water means farming, but also hydroelectric power. This means that there is chronic water competition. The remaining water supplies are heavily polluted with effluent, and fertiliser runoff.

    I'm not that much of a tree hugger, but this is the battlefield.
  8. Hector, do you know whether has that impacted the reservoir capacity significantly?
  9. I'm afraid so.
    I attach a rather technical brief dating back to 2007 from the Afghan government hydrologists.

    Basically, not only is there less rain falling, and less finding its way into the system, all the washed away sediment has clogged up the reservoirs, reducing their capacity.
  10. you missed one " Caravans" James Mitchener, who worked on the American aid project
  11. Small Wars Journal

    Post by Col Gian P Gentile, Ken White and William F Owen usually very good, or at least thought-provoking...
  12. You also missed 'Jihad!' by Tom Carew.
    All right, I'll grant you he was the Walts Walt, but he was actually out there. Just read with a large bucket of Salt.
  13. So was I, but I did not write a walty book

    Attached Files:

  14. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

  15. But have you written a non-Walty one? There seems to be a market for them.

    Crack on!

    Further to my earlier note, it appears that the Soviets used a mix of chemical agents. Perhaps some of our Eastern commentators might have access to better sources, but there seems to have been an assortment of nerve agents, but also rather a lot of toxins, including aflatoxin or 'Yellow Rain' (gives you cancer) Ergot (crop disease, gives you St Vitus dance and hallucinations) glanders (kills horses and mules) and something really horible called T-2 which appears to melt you.

    Most of this is probably inactive by now, but you never know what old ordnance might turn up.