Review: Afghan Guerrilla Warfare–In the Words of the Mujahideen Fighters

4 Star, Biography & Memoirs, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), War & Face of Battle

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Raw Material, Helpful Commentary, Missing Closure,

September 21, 2002
Ali Ahmad Jalali
It may not be obvious to the hurried shopper, so it is worth emphasizing up front that this book not only has the full support of the Foreign Military Studies Office of the U.S. Army, but is provided courtesy of the United States Marine Corps Studies and Analysis Division.The selection of stories may have been done by the Soviets from whom the work is borrowed, but in any event is quite good–16 vignettes on ambushes, 10 on raids, 2 on shelling attacks, 6 on attacking strong points, 2 on mine warfare, 6 on blocking enemy lines of communication, 2 on siege warfare, 4 on defending against raids, 3 on fighting heliborne insertions, 5 on defending against cordon and search, 14 on defending base camps, 6 on counterambushes, 3 on fighting an encirclement, and 14 on urban combat. One wonders if those responsible for inserting our forces into Afghanistan in the failed effort to capture the Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership intact, ever read this book. It is quite good.

Although it provides very professional U.S. commentary after each vignette, commenting on both Soviet and Mujahideen behavior in the combat situations, it fails on two counts: the index is terrible (mostly an index of names, rather than combat lessons), and the final chapter is a whimper rather than a sonic boom–this book should be re-issued immediately with a proper index and a concluding chapter that pulls together the concise troop leading “bullets” for each of the 14 combat situations depicted by the vignettes ennumerated above.

One final note: the availability of this book via Amazon.com deserves special commendation. I have been trying for years to get the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute to get all of its very superior and valuable publications made available via Amazon.com so that its taxpayer-funded knowledge would be more widely available, and have simply not been able to get them off the dime. As 9-11 demonstrates, knowledge that is not shared can ultimately exact a great price–what our war colleges produce, at taxpayer expense, needs to be given broader dissemination, and Amazon.com is “the” portal for monograph and book form knowledge.

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