Conflict in Afghanistan : Studies in Asymetric Warfare book cover
1st Edition

Conflict in Afghanistan
Studies in Asymetric Warfare

ISBN 9780415758871
Published April 24, 2014 by Routledge
198 Pages

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Book Description

Asymmetric warfare, involving conflicts where smaller powers apply their strengths against the weaknesses of a more powerful opponent, has become a key modern concern since the September 11th attacks. Conflict in Afghanistan tackles this issue by examining the five wars Afghanistan has waged against foreign powers over the past two centuries, all of which have involved forms of asymmetric warfare.

Incorporating contemporary documents and material from Soviet archives, the text analyzes each war’s antecedents, conduct, and consequences. Important questions are asked about the role of religious beliefs, fanaticism, diplomacy, governmental decision-making and military competence, issues that have great contemporary relevance. The book provides an illuminating commentary of Afghanistan’s wars and examines the relevance of these conflicts to the modern-day challenge of counter-insurgency and asymmetric warfare.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part 1: Setting the Scene  1. Afghanistan and the Afghans  Part 2: The First Anglo-Afghan War  2. The Failure of Diplomacy  3. Invasion  4. Occupation  5. Disaster and Withdrawal  Part 3: The Second Anglo-Afghan War  6. Lord Lytton’s Folly  7. Occupation  8. Retreat  Part 4: The Third Anglo-Afghan War  9. Amanullah’s Gamble  Part 5: The Soviet-Afghan War  10. The Communist Takeover  11. The Khalq Regime  12. The Decision to Invade  13. Invasion and Occupation  14 Withdrawal  15. Aftermath  Part 6: The American Intervention  16. The United States, The Taliban and al Qaida  Part 7: Conclusions  Chapter 17. Conclusions  Notes  Select Bibliography  Index

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Sir Martin Ewans is a retired diplomat with considerable experience of South Asia, including three years as Head of Chancery in Kabul.


'The principal arguement of the book, has to do with what is called "asymmetric warfare", that is how a weak power fights a stronger one. His sensible conlusion is that great modern powers should be wary of embarking on contests with smaller countries and should be much more serious about first exhausting the resources of diplomacy. In the end, he (Ewans) remarks rather sententiously, asymmetric warefare is about hearts and minds.' - Asian Studies

'The authors judgements on each conflict are pursuasive and in line with commonly accepted historical views.' - M. E. Yapp