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Free download of Chapter 2 - A Coward in Afghanistan
This September marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11/2001. That’s probably when you first started thinking about Afghanistan, but the longer history of the troubled nation reveals much more than the influence of Al Qaeda. Edward Girardet’s fascinating new book Killing the Cranes is a crash course in Afghan history.
“This is the most thorough and knowledgeable book on Afghanistan I have come across, and his conclusions about what has gone wrong and what can be done about it are unassailable.”
—Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and author of Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform
For thirty years, Edward Girardet risked his life reporting from the world’s most notoriously troubled country. Now, in Killing the Cranes, he delivers a firsthand account of his years on the ground amid the war, chaos, and strife that have come to define Afghanistan.
As an award-winning correspondent, Girardet’s reporting took him to the heart of Afghanistan’s most dangerous conflicts, devastated disaster zones, and across hundreds of miles of rugged terrain. He witnessed the world’s greatest refuge exodus, the bitter Battle of Kabul, and the rise of the Taliban—delivering countless stories of this misunderstood land to the rest of the world. Along the way, Girardet met the key figures that shaped Afghanistan’s destiny, including Ahmed Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and escaped with his life by the skin of his teeth following an encounter with Osama bin Laden.
In this timely and compelling tale, Girardet shines extraordinary light on Afghanistan’s catastrophic history and uncertain future, and offers insight into the West’s fraught involvement and failed recovery effort. At the same time, his work serves as a reminder of what the world stands to lose with the decline of journalism—as the kind of in-depth, decades-long foreign reporting that Girardet dedicated his career to becomes a thing of the past.
“Edward Girardet has a unique story to tell. . . . His writing and long-term historical perspective becomes even more important at a time when the US and NATO are seen to be failing in holding back the Taliban resurgence in that country. His book should provide enormous insight into the past that is also deeply relevant to the present and future.”
—Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban, Jihad, and Descent into Chaos
Edward Girardet has reported widely from disaster zones since the late 1970s. An award-winning correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, he began covering Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. Girardet is author or editor of Afghanistan: The Soviet War; Somalia, Rwanda, and Beyond; Populations in Danger; and The Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan. He has reported numerous TV documentaries ranging from the war in Angola to lost tribes in New Guinea. Girardet lives with his family outside Geneva, Switzerland.