Conflict in Afghanistan: Studies in Asymetric Warfare, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Conflict in Afghanistan

Studies in Asymetric Warfare, 1st Edition

By Martin Ewans


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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.


'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

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

About the Author

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

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies