Killing the Cranes: A Reporter's Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan

Overview


For all too many Americans, knowledge of Afghanistan's history begins only with the events of 9/11 and the subsequent US-led invasion. Yet this ancient and troubled country has endured decades of occupation and strife, as well as centuries of interest by outside nations. At the crossroads of trade between East and West, North and South, Afghanistan holds the key to peace and security in the region, and its control is hotly contested by warring factions, each eager to dominate ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $55.87   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   
Killing the Cranes: A Reporter's Journey through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49
BN.com price
(Save 42%)$19.95 List Price

Overview


For all too many Americans, knowledge of Afghanistan's history begins only with the events of 9/11 and the subsequent US-led invasion. Yet this ancient and troubled country has endured decades of occupation and strife, as well as centuries of interest by outside nations. At the crossroads of trade between East and West, North and South, Afghanistan holds the key to peace and security in the region, and its control is hotly contested by warring factions, each eager to dominate the discussion.

Leading international journalist Edward Girardet has been a witness to more than three decades of upheaval in Afghanistan. In Killing the Cranes, he recollects the events he has seen unfold in Afghanistan-beginning with the Red Army occupation in 1979, the collapse of the communist regime, the bitter Battle for Kabul in the mid-1990s, the Taliban takeover, and the post-9/11 US invasion.

With tremendous insight and courage, he examines not only the leaders and their visions, the resulting internal struggles for power and the deep divisions within the population, but also the invaders and their tactics, and the attending destruction and death visited on the Afghan people.

By relating his insights, Girardet hopes to bring those who face the conundrum that is Afghanistan to the final understanding why any attempt by the US (or any outside nation) to govern there is ultimately doomed to fail.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
European-based journalist Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War) shares his personal story of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and offers disturbing parallels to America's involvement. His first trip as a journalist was just months before the Soviet invasion, and he was smitten with the beauty of the countryside with its "sprawling sea of twenty-thousand-foot-high snowcapped peaks." He returned often over the following decade, accompanying the mujahideen on missions and documenting the plight of the people. His exploits included a tense confrontation with Osama bin Laden, and he eventually landed on a "hit list... vilified as ‘the enemy of Islam.'" He returned when America invaded, and concludes that "all I see is a replay of history." His comparisons of the invasions expose a superpower hubris where "first the Soviets, and now the West attempted to impose a political and cultural future... that was not consistent with traditional Afghan culture and beliefs." Girardet admits to having "romanticized Afghanistan because of its harsh beauty and poetic embrace," but still offers a sobering assessment. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War) has spent more than three decades as a war correspondent covering conflicts around the world, frequently in Afghanistan, starting with the Soviet invasion in 1979. Having lived on the ground reporting alongside the mujahideen, he offers a sobering perspective. These guerrilla fighters, with U.S. financial aid, ousted the Soviet-backed regime in 1992. They in turn were ousted by the Taliban. During his frequent trips inside Afghanistan, in many cases entering illegally at great personal risk, Girardet was nearly killed (when mistaken for Salman Rushdie) and had a number of personal encounters with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden pre-9/11, unaware of the identity of the "tall Arab man" who was developing a hatred of the United States. VERDICT With his vast experience inside Afghanistan during different conflicts, Girardet presents strong evidence that foreign powers from the British to the Soviets to the Americans have all made the same mistakes by attempting to impose their own political models and values on a nation that does not fit into any Western mold. While this conclusion is hardly new, Girardet's excellent work should be of particular interest to historians, foreign policy buffs, political scientists, and military personnel.—Robert Bruce Slater, Stroudsburg, PA
Kirkus Reviews

From longtime journalist and producer Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War, 1986, etc.), an insightful personal account of Afghanistan and its people from 1979 to the present.

The author's career began with the Christian Science Monitor before the days when correspondents were embedded with the troops. He had to make his own way, and often did so on foot, hiking mountain ridges and valley trails accompanying guerrillas and medical-relief workers. During his long career, Girardet has met, befriended and been threatened by many key figures in Afghanistan's recent history, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Ahmed Shah Massoud and even the recently assassinated Osama bin Laden. The author knows the country and its people, as well as some of its still-unresolved crimes—e.g., the Kerala massacre of 1979, during which the village's 1,000+ males were killed in cold blood. Girardet chronicles the countless crimes that still demand redress, many of which predate those of the Soviet invasion, the Saudi- and Pakistani-funded religious war of the 1990s and bin Laden's al-Qaeda. The author is concerned that corruption, criminality and religious fundamentalism have undermined the country's potential, especially since the 1990s. With a long-view perspective, Girardet puts forward a view of a culture based on generosity and openness, a culture which he thinks has been wronged by misguided association with the fighting qualities of guerrillas and terrorists. Afghans have resisted every foreign invasion they have faced, and the author thinks this one will be no different.

Girardet's unique perspective will be both helpful and thought-provoking for readers seeking to understand what might be involved in an eventual peace settlement and independence.

From the Publisher

Library Journal-

Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War) has spent more than three decades as a war correspondent covering conflicts around the world, frequently in Afghanistan, starting with the Soviet invasion in 1979. Having lived on the ground reporting alongside the mujahideen, he offers a sobering perspective. These guerrilla fighters, with U.S. financial aid, ousted the Soviet-backed regime in 1992. They in turn were ousted by the Taliban. During his frequent trips inside Afghanistan, in many cases entering illegally at great personal risk, Girardet was nearly killed (when mistaken for Salman Rushdie) and had a number of personal encounters with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden pre-9/11, unaware of the identity of the "tall Arab man" who was developing a hatred of the United States. VERDICT: With his vast experience inside Afghanistan during different conflicts, Girardet presents strong evidence that foreign powers from the British to the Soviets to the Americans have all made the same mistakes by attempting to impose their own political models and values on a nation that does not fit into any Western mold. While this conclusion is hardly new, Girardet's excellent work should be of particular interest to historians, foreign policy buffs, political scientists, and military personnel.

ForeWord Reviews-

Few people are likely as well qualified as Girardet to tell the tragic story of Afghanistan since the 1979 Soviet invasion. The American author has been a foreign correspondent forThe Christian Science Monitor,U.S. News and World Report, and theMacNeil/Lehrer NewsHourand is the author of Afghanistan: The Soviet War. Girardet began covering Afghanistan just before the Soviet attack, and the American’s compassion for Afghanis, who, in his experience, would share their meager food and few possessions with strangers, resonates throughout. Girardet skillfully blends tales of bravery and tragedy with authoritative investigations of the history and culture of Afghanistan. This book is an excellent personal account of a nation in turmoil that offers insight into its history, its people, and its future. Serious readers of current politics will find this important work instructive and rewarding. Despite the great challenges Girardet identifies, he remains cautiously optimistic that Afghanistan could yet become stable—if foreign nations would stop encroaching and if Afghanis were truly free to decide their own fate—a land that would again be home to ‘migrating cranes.’

Midwest Book Review-

Killing the Cranes represents some thirty years of the author's reporting from war-torn Afghanistan, and provides a powerful assessment of not only events but what went wrong and what can be done about them today. He experienced the heart of the country's most dangerous conflicts and terrain, witnessing its major battles and meeting those who helped shape its future. Killing the Cranes is a vivid history and a powerful recommendation for military and general history holdings alike.

Kirkus Reviews-

From longtime journalist and producer Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War, 1986, etc.), an insightful personal account of Afghanistan and its people from 1979 to the present. The author's career began with the Christian Science Monitor before the days when correspondents were embedded with the troops. Girardet chronicles the countless crimes that still demand redress, many of which predate those of the Soviet invasion, the Saudi- and Pakistani-funded religious war of the 1990s and bin Laden's al-Qaeda. The author is concerned that corruption, criminality and religious fundamentalism have undermined the country's potential, especially since the 1990s. With a long-view perspective, Girardet puts forward a view of a culture based on generosity and openness, a culture which he thinks has been wronged by misguided association with the fighting qualities of guerrillas and terrorists. Afghans have resisted every foreign invasion they have faced, and the author thinks this one will be no different. Girardet's unique perspective will be both helpful and thought-provoking for readers seeking to understand what might be involved in an eventual peace settlement and independence.

Publishers Weekly-

European-based journalist Girardet (Afghanistan: The Soviet War) shares his personal story of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and offers disturbing parallels to America's involvement. His first trip as a journalist was just months before the Soviet invasion, and he was smitten with the beauty of the countryside with its ‘sprawling sea of twenty-thousand-foot-high snowcapped peaks.’ He returned often over the following decade, accompanying the mujahideen on missions and documenting the plight of the people. His exploits included a tense confrontation with Osama bin Laden, and he eventually landed on a ‘hit list... vilified as ‘the enemy of Islam.'’ He returned when America invaded, and concludes that ‘all I see is a replay of history.’ His comparisons of the invasions expose a superpower hubris where ‘first the Soviets, and now the West attempted to impose a political and cultural future... that was not consistent with traditional Afghan culture and beliefs.’ Girardet admits to having ‘romanticized Afghanistan because of its harsh beauty and poetic embrace,’ but still offers a sobering assessment.

"Drawing on more than three decades of personal travels to Afghanistan, Edward Girardet offers a ruminating set of reflections on the history of the region and its diverse groups. He captures the dynamism, the pride, and the potential of the people living in Afghanistan. He also examines the limitations of military interventions and the possibilities for policies more deeply connected to rural communities. Girardet's book is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of contemporary Afghanistan."--Jeremi Suri, author of Liberty's Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from Washington to Obama

"Edward Girardet has a unique story to tell... He has been a consistent and keen observer of political events. He has come to know all the major characters... His is a very personal tale as well as being one of great historical importance."--Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban, Jihad, and Descent into Chaos

"Edward Girardet puts all of his thirty years' experience to use in this vivid, enlightening, humane, yet alarming book. Few other observers have had the determination to cover Afghan events from before the Soviet invasion to the preparations for American withdrawal. Girardet describes that whole saga, points out why and whether things could have gone differently, and explains the realistic prospects ahead. This is a life's-work testimony in the best sense."--James Fallows, author of Blind into Baghdad and Postcards from Tomorrow Square

"Part travelogue, part memoir, part political analysis, Girardet has produced a fine work of reportage. . . .Killing the Cranes provides unparalleled insights into the immense challenges presented by the war in Afghanistan, and the reasons, he predicts, for a denouement that is likely to resemble those of other failed engagements by foreign powers."--Mark Schapiro, author of Exposed and senior correspondent, Center for Investigative Reporting

"After reading Killing the Cranes, I felt like I had spent three decades in Afghanistan at Girardet's side. 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 Chair of the Democratic National Committee and Vermont governor; author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform

"Ed Girardet has accumulated more experience in Afghanistan than almost anyone else in the press corps, and the result is a truly remarkable book about a completely misunderstood country. Killing the Cranes may well be the most gripping and thorough account ever written about our numerous missteps and lost opportunities-it reads like a great novel but informs like the best kind of magazine journalism. Both his writing and reporting are absolutely superb."--Sebastian Junger, author of War

"Edward Girardet's knowledge of Afghanistan, both its many problems and its many attractions, is profound. He writes with great authority and grace, and his love for the country comes through on every page of this fascinating, important, and thoughtful book."--Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603583428
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/3/2011
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Edward Girardet is a journalist, writer, and producer who has reported widely from humanitarian and war zones in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere. As a foreign correspondent for the US News and World Report based in Paris, he first began covering Afghanistan several months prior to the Soviet Invasion in 1979. Since then he has traveled throughout much of the country, often by foot. Girardet has written and edited several books, including Afghanistan: The Soviet War. He has produced numerous television current affairs segments and documentaries on subjects ranging from the war in Angola to lost tribes in Western New Guinea and conservation in Africa for major North American and European broadcast networks, such as the BBC and PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Girardet is currently editor of Crosslines Global Report and president of the International Centre for Humanitarian Reporting, a Geneva-based media foundation. He lives in Paris, France.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Prologue 1

1 Tracking the Lion: Part One 15

2 A Coward in Afghanistan 34

3 The Soviet Invasion: You Have Never Been to Afghanistan! 57

4 Baluch Guerrillas, Learning Curves, and Massacres 74

5 You Can Rent an Afghan, But Never Buy Him 100

6 Refugees, Tora Bora, and Fighting Veterinarians 122

7 Tracking the Lion: Part Two 140

8 The Lion and the Hyena 171

9 Crossing the Tar 200

10 Peshawar: Aid Workers and Assassins 226

11 Arabs, Islamic Legionnaires, and Satanic Verses 249

12 The Battle for Kabul: A Mad Dogs' War 274

13 The Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the War on Terrorism 304

14 Enduring Freedom: Missed Opportunities and the New Occupation 327

15 The Great Pretend Game 348

Epilogue 382

Afghanistan: Time Line 389

Glossary 394

Index 398

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    Quite interesting...worth reading.

    This book sent me to buy a map of Afghanistan so I could follow it more easily, and I found myself having to write down the names and designate whether they seemed to be 'good guys' or 'bad guys' since some of the names seem so similar to my American ears (eyes). I appreciated learning that, depending on the circumstances, it seemed people switch sides and that often that was the only practical thing to do for the safety of themselves and their families. As Americans, I think we need to be reminded that everyone doesn't have such black and white choices as we do, and this book also points out that our own government choices may not always be as clearly made as we think.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)