Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story


Despite official declarations, the war in Afghanistan is far from over; in fact, it?s escalating. Seven years after 9/11, the Taliban continue to regroup, attack, and claim influence over most of the region. This book presents a fresh, comprehensive analysis of Afghanistan?s political history that begins at the roots of tribal leadership and ultimately emphasizes our present political moment and the impact of ongoing US military intervention.

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould,...

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Despite official declarations, the war in Afghanistan is far from over; in fact, it’s escalating. Seven years after 9/11, the Taliban continue to regroup, attack, and claim influence over most of the region. This book presents a fresh, comprehensive analysis of Afghanistan’s political history that begins at the roots of tribal leadership and ultimately emphasizes our present political moment and the impact of ongoing US military intervention.

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband and wife team, first went to Afghanistan in 1981 and have reported for CBS News, Nightline, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Their documentary Between Three Worlds was broadcast by PBS.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Journalists Fitzgerald and Gould do yeoman's labor in clearing the fog and laying bare American failures in Afghanistan in this deeply researched, cogently argued and enormously important book. The authors demonstrate how closely American actions are tied to past miscalculations-and how U.S. policy has placed Afghans and Americans in grave danger. Long at cultural crossroads, Afghanistan's location poised the country to serve as "a fragile buffer" between rival empires. Great Britain's 1947 creation of an arbitrary and indefensible border between Afghanistan and the newly minted Pakistan "from the Afghan point of view... has always been the problem," but particularly after 9/11 American policymakers have paid scant attention to the concerns of Afghans, preferring to shoehorn an imagined Afghanistan into U.S. power paradigms. "The United States is in a fight for its life, not because of [9/11]... but because of the way America responded.... That response was at once wildly exaggerated, dangerously reckless, and... ineffective," the authors argue, calling on the incoming president to make radical changes. "Osama is not beating the United States.... The United States is beating itself, and beating itself badly." (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Midwest Book Review
There's more to Afghanistan's history than the rise and fall of the Taliban. Afghanistan's Untold Story is a look at the oft forgotten long and storied history of the Afghani people. Drawing the tale from thousands of years ago in ancient times to what Afghanistan was like before the infamous wars with the Soviet Union, it tells the story from the Afghani perspective, leading to a fascinating story of a war-torn people. Afghanistan's Untold Story is enthralling history reading, a great pick indeed.
Middle East Journal
Utilizing 20 years of experience of researching and reporting on Afghanistan, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould seek to clarify and contextualize the current situation in conflict-torn Afghanistan with this comprehensive history. The material covers events starting in ancient antiquity, but puts a heavy emphasis on the second half of the 20th century through the end of 2007. The work concludes with analysis and strategy recommendations for the incoming American President and is supplemented by an appendix of historical maps.
Charles Cogan
I think your account of the Russian motivation at the time of the invasion and afterwards strikes me as being quite authentic. Prime minister Kosygin didn't vote for the intervention. He had his doubts and he was absent from the meeting. (Charles Cogan at the Cambridge Forum, February 4, 2009. Cogan was Chief of the Near East-South Asia Division in the Operations Directorate of the CIA from 1979 to 1984. He is now at the Kennedy School.)
Dallas Morning News
The fog obscuring U.S. policies in Afghanistan is thicker than elsewhere in the region. The authors cut through it meticulously, exposing layers of cultural arrogance and myopia. They demonstrate with painful clarity how these traits helped push our would-be ally into the Soviet orbit, causing us to arm and promote the violent extremists we're fighting today. When confronted with al-Qaeda's nihilism on 9/11, our response was 'wildly exaggerated, dangerously reckless, and ... ineffective.'
Asia Times
Nearly 30 years after their first foray into the land-locked buffer state, married couple and journalist-historians Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould could not have chosen a more appropriate time to publish their comprehensive Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story. . . A chronically disinformed US public should leap at the chance to familiarize themselves with an honest overview of their country's historically scandalous involvement in the region.
—Anthony Fenton
Stefan Christoff
In Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story, journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould outline striking historical accounts of an ancient nation, its borders shaped through colonial wars and conflicts between empires. Their style is reflective yet factual, delving into Afghanistan's key role in central conflicts that have defined global politics in the past century, from the Cold War to the "war on terror.
The Hour
Ron Jacobs
The history told within these covers is the story of an ancient nation whose intention in the past century or so has included the creation of a free and tolerant society. . . . It is the authors' contention that this struggle erupted into a civil war when the US began arming warlords and reactionary religious forces in its war against the Soviets. . . . This book puts the responsibility for Afghanistan's desperate situation directly in the laps of US policymakers . . . It also asks whether or not this was the intention of those policymakers all along.
Dissident Voice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872864948
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 1,504,913
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.98 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband and wife team, began their experience in Afghanistan when they were the first American journalists to acquire permission to enter behind Soviet lines in 1981 for CBS News and produced a documentary, Afghanistan Between Three Worlds, for PBS. In 1983 they returned to Kabul with Harvard Negotiation project director Roger Fisher for ABC Nightline and contributed to the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. They have continued to research, write and lecture about the long-term run-up that led to the US invasion of Afghanistan.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Sima Wali Wali, Sima 1

Prologue: A Clockwork Afghanistan 9

Pt. I Afghanistan from Antiquity to the 1960s

1 Problems with the Historical Record 19

2 The British Are Coming 31

3 The Great Game 37

4 Twentieth-century Afghanistan 53

5 A Background to Cold War Policy 85

Pt. II Afghanistan from the 1970s to 2001

6 Team-B 139

7 The 1979 Winter Nightmare 159

8 Summer 1980 181

9 The Reagan Era 187

10 Moscow's New Regime 203

11 A New Decade: A New and More Dangerous Afghanistan 211

12 1995-2001: The Taliban 223

Pt. III Afghanistan from 2001 to 2008

13 Countdown to 9/11 243

14 Kabul, October 7,2001 251

15 Afghanistan Redux 257

16 Afghanistan and the Region 283

17 Geopolitical Realities vs. Osama bin Laden, Superstar 297

18 What Can President Barack Obama Do? 315

Epilogue: The Twenty-first Chapter 329

App Maps of Afghanistan 333

Notes 337

Bibliography 373

Index 379

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