Synopses & Reviews
October 7, 2011 marked the tenth anniversary of the start of the Afghan war, and this explosive book exposes how the West lost it's chance to rout the Taliban and stabilize Afghanistan.
In late 2001, a group of Afghan tribal leaders met to plan how to topple the Taliban. Within weeks, the plan was in tatters, thwarted by the West and its leader, Abdul Haq, assassinated by the Taliban. Lucy Morgan Edwards's investigation into Haq's tragic mission led her to Taliban Ministers, warlords, spies, and two American Republican brothers who financed Haq's venture.
Based on the author's own experience of the war in Afghanistan, this book reveals how a solution to the war was lost and why it matters today.
“Edwards' perspective is shaped by her experience living in Afghanistan for the better part of six years as an aid worker during the height of the Taliban regime, an election monitor, a political adviser to the EU Ambassador in Kabul and as a freelance journalist. Some of the most captivating scenes in her book come from the months she spent living in Eastern Afghanistan with Abdul Haq's well-respected family -- the Arsalas -- a khan khel (chief clan) within the Ahmadzai tribe of the Ghilzai Pashtuns. There she receives a real world education on Afghanistan's resilient tribal structure, which the Western alliance has tried to replace with ‘modern governing models.” -- Michael Hughes, Huffington Post
"An important and revealing book. Lucy Morgan Edwards has written a rich and compelling account of how Abdul Haq might have saved Afghanistan - and what the West can still learn from his singular vision of a post-Taliban nation." - David Zucchino, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, The Los Angeles Times
"This insightful, animated volume ... draws on previously unpublished, uniquely qualified Afghan and foreign sources to tell the story of Abdul Haqs tragic death, the legacy he has left behind, and its applicability to the present and to the future." - Peter Tomsen, author of The Wars of Afghanistan and former US Ambassador to the Afghan resistance, 1989-92
"A deeply-reported, well-argued and deftly-written account of the opportunities not taken ... based on the author's own deep knowledge of Afghanistan." - Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring War Between America and Al Qaeda
"I was in direct contact with Abdul Haq in the days immediately following 9/11. His tragic story is a microcosm of where we have gone wrong in Afghanistan." - Lord Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat leader 1988 - 1999
"Vital reading for everyone who truly wants to understand this tragic conflict." - Peter Oborne, Political Editor, Daily Telegraph
"A devastating indictment of the intelligence and strategic failures that have led us into the current tragedy in Afghanistan." - William Pfaff
"By far the best account of Afghanistan during the period that I have read. It combines the pace of a page-gripping thriller with the insights of a piece of travel writing and political journalism at their best." - Conor Foley, author of The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism went to War
"Whatever might have been achieved against al-Qaida with minimal force in 2001 - on which I recommend Lucy Morgan Edwards' book The Afghan Solution - is past history." - Simon Jenkins in The Guardian
About the Author
Lucy Morgan Edwards is a former Political Advisor to the EU Ambassador in Kabul with responsibility for civil military affairs, narcotics and security sector reform. During her seven years in the region she worked for the UN in Kandahar at the height of the Taliban regime (supervising community and urban water supply projects), was an election monitor and a correspondent for the Economist and Daily Telegraph and the initial researcher for the International Crisis Group on Transitional Justice Issues. She also spent many months in Jalalabad, Eastern Afghanistan, with a leading tribal family (that of Abdul Haq and Haji Abdul Qadir), whereby she developed an insight into the post-9/11 political situation in the dis-enfranchised Pashtun areas of the East. Her final job was Country Expert to the EU Monitors of the 2005 Afghan Parliamentary Elections. She has written several academic papers on the post-9/11 Afghan intervention and state-building process, including "State-building in Afghanistan - a case showing the Limits?" for the International Review of the Red Cross special issue on "Conflict in Afghanistan" and "Defence, Diplomacy and Development - '3D': Rhetoric or reality?" for the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. She is author of The Afghan Solution: The Inside Story of Abdul Haq, the CIA and How Western Hubris Lost Afghanistan,and shehas presented papers on Afghanistan at Chatham House,the Royal Society of Asia Affairs, and the Frontline club in London. She currently lives in Geneva.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The 'Peace versus Justice' Strategy * Chapter 2 Reigniting Fundamentalism * Chapter 3 The Poetess of Jalalabad * Chapter 4 'I'd Rather be a Lion for a Day, than a Jackal all my Life' * Chapter 5 A 'Cataclysmic Event for the West' * Chapter 6 The 'Lion of Kabul' * Chapter 7 'These Days, We Don't know who the Enemy is'. * Chapter 8 'Afghanistan will be the World's Largest Poppy Field' * Chapter 9 'First you call us Freedom Fighters, now Warlords' * Chapter 10 Playing the al-Qaeda Card * Chapter 11 'No-one Could Hold a Candle to him' - the Hurdles Faced by a Private US Effort to Support Abdul Haq (Part I) * Chapter 12 A Perspective on British Post-September 11 Strategy and Intelligence - The UK Haq Effort (Part I) * Chapter 13 'He Would have Begun a Revolution, That's Why They Killed him so Fast' - A Taliban Interior Minister Speaks * Chapter 14 'Camp Followers' in Kabul * Chapter 15 The King's Group and 'Rome' * Chapter 16 From Jihadi Commanders to Taliban * Chapter 17 Return to Kandahar * Chapter 18 Governance and Traditional Structures * Chapter 19 A Further Perspective on British Post-September 11 Intelligence - The UK Haq Effort (Part II) * Chapter 20 When did the US Really Choose Karzai? - A Private US effort to Support Abdul Haq (Part II) * Chapter 21 Abdul Haq and CIA Strategy in Afghanistan * Chapter 22 Conclusions and Ways Forward