Nearly 100,000 U.S. soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan,
fighting the longest war in the nation's history. But what do
Americans know about the land where this conflict is taking place?
Many have come to have a grasp of the people, history, and
geography of Iraq, but Afghanistan remains a mystery.
Originally published by the U.S. Army to provide an overview of the
country's terrain, ethnic groups, and history for American troops
and now updated and expanded for the general public,
Afghanistan Declassified fills in these gaps. Historian
Brian Glyn Williams, who has traveled to Afghanistan frequently
over the past decade, provides essential background to the war,
tracing the rise, fall, and reemergence of the Taliban. Special
sections deal with topics such as the CIA's Predator drone campaign
in the Pakistani tribal zones, the spread of suicide bombing from
Iraq to the Afghan theater of operations, and comparisons between
the Soviet and U.S. experiences in Afghanistan.
To Williams, a historian of Central Asia, Afghanistan is not merely
a theater in the war on terror. It is a primeval, exciting, and
beautiful land; not only a place of danger and turmoil but also one
of hospitable villagers and stunning landscapes, of great cultural
diversity and richness. Williams brings the country to life through
his own travel experiences-from living with Northern Alliance Uzbek
warlords to working on a major NATO base. National heroes are
introduced, Afghanistan's varied ethnic groups are explored, key
battles-both ancient and current-are retold, and this land that
many see as only a frightening setting for prolonged war emerges in
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