THE WRONG ENEMY, America in Afghanistan 2001-2014, By Carlotta Gall, a Review by Joan Adamak

 Know your enemy.

The author has been covering the Afghanistan-Pakistani war for over ten years.  She appears to understand the culture of the Afghans and Pakistanis, which by U.S. actions, it doesn’t  know and fight all battles like they fought Germany whose culture was like ours.  Russia made the same mistake, although it should have known better since much of their countrymen are Chechen.  Afghanistan has always been composed of many tribes, each ruling in their own way, but have through the ages been melded into one country.  In the author’s writing, she definitely shows the many differences between the tribes and tribal leaders.  She did a fine job of lining up the events as they occurred causing other problems.  She is correct in that much of Afghanistan did not want the Taliban interfering in their lives, but the Taliban is a well-organized, well-funded radical religious instrument, which particularly the men like, but it degrades women.  Although she didn’t go into that deeply, she did enough so the reader could understand how these different tribal differences clashed, and she certainly was honest enough about the financial help, including young soldiers, given by Pakistan, who really wants to rule Afghanistan.

If the U.S. had not extended itself in a war in Iraq, perhaps it could have done a little more to help the Afghanis help themselves, but if and when the U.S. interjects itself, it is often along the ideals of the U.S. rather than to help the country develop itself per its desires.

I think the author did an excellent job as she covered ten years of war with all of its intrigues, politics and subterfuge.  For some readers, it might be too concentrated on the many facets of action in this area of the world, but for those who like history, and even may have kept up with the news over these years, she gave a depth of insight that is not always true of an onlooker.  I  felt she was quite objective in her reporting, showing the weaknesses and strengths of many of the players in this war game.

For readers of this type of non-fiction I recommend this book.

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