Unwinnable: Britain’s War in Afghanistan

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Random House, Sep 7, 2017 - History - 608 pages

Afghanistan was an unwinnable war. As British and American troops withdraw, discover this definitive account that explains why.

It could have been a very different story. British forces could have successfully withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2002, having done the job they set out to do: to defeat al-Qaeda. Instead, in the years that followed, Britain paid a devastating price for their presence in Helmand province.

So why did Britain enter, and remain, in an ill-fated war? Why did it fail so dramatically, and was this expedition doomed from the beginning? Drawing on unprecedented access to military reports, government documents and senior individuals, Professor Theo Farrell provides an extraordinary work of scholarship. He explains the origins of the war, details the campaigns over the subsequent years, and examines the West's failure to understand the dynamics of local conflict and learn the lessons of history that ultimately led to devastating costs and repercussions still relevant today.

'The best book so far on Britain's...war in Afghanistan' International Affairs

'Masterful, irrefutable... Farrell records all these military encounters with the irresistible pace of a novelist' Sunday Times


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About the author (2017)

Theo Farrell is Professor and Executive Dean of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Previously he was Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at City, University of London and, before that, Head of the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. Professor Farrell has published several books on military and strategic affairs. He conducted a number of studies in Afghanistan for British authorities and ISAF Command. He remains a Visiting Professor in War Studies at King’s College London.

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