This is a penetrating account of the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan by a British officer. Major Streatfield has been outspoken in his analysis of foreign intervention in Afghanistan, providing a thought-provoking and personal perspective. He has compared the Taliban tactics with the British response and offered a record of daily fire-fights and the daily threat of IEDs.
NAME: Honourable Warriors, Fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
AUTHOR: Richard Streatfield
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Asymetric warfare, terrorists, freedom fighters, holy warriors, Asian conflict, NATO, US, UK MOD, The Rifles, air support, IED
DESCRIPTION: This is a penetrating account of the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan by a British officer. Major Streatfield has been outspoken in his analysis of foreign intervention in Afghanistan, providing a thought-provoking and personal perspective. He has compared the Taliban tactics with the British response and offered a record of daily fire-fights and the daily threat of IEDs.
The text reads well, giving an absorbing account of life for The Rifles in the battle zone. It is supported by a photo section of colour images of life for the author and his comrades in Afghanistan.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of this book is in the similarities it shares with letters and reports from Afghanistan more than 150 years years ago. The Army of the Indus marched into Afghanistan to enforce a British view of peace on a tribal population that was happy to fight anyone. An invader could be fought by all, but if there was no invader there was always the opportunity to fight neighbours and follow feuds through generations.
There will long be debate of the merits and threats of invading Afghanistan. Politicians have been less than honest or constant in their justification for an asymmetric war that has cost so many American and British lives, causing far higher casualties amongst Afghans and yet had such a small and temporary effect on a country that is still in a place centuries away from Europe and in a culture that matches the harsh countryside.
This is a book that should be widely read. Many readers may take a different view from that expressed by the author, but he has served in theatre and provides insights that are only possible from direct experience. Even if all NATO troops are withdrawn to the timetable conceived by politicians to suit election timetables or a desire to reduce budgets, Afghanistan will still exist and continue to present all of the challenges and threats that it has presented before.
The dangers that Afghanistan has presented and will continue to present are not unique to Afghanistan. We live in an increasingly dangerous world and a world were there is a widening gulf between those countries that have and those that have not. There may have been no real option originally but to invade Afghanistan, but once there, the US took its focus away to Iraq and never refocused. That lack of attention has cost lives and meant that the peace has not been won. Some will question whether the peace ever could have been won because politicians have failed to understand the society and the needs of Afghans and tried to apply European concepts that are alien. Sadly there is rarely a Wingate Pasha around when you need one.