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

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

by Edward Girardet


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

Few reporters have covered Afghanistan as intrepidly and humanely as Edward Girardet. Now, in a gripping, personal account, Girardet delivers a story of that nation's resistance fighters, foreign invaders, mercenaries, spies, aid workers, Islamic extremists, and others who have defined Afghanistan's last thirty years of war, chaos, and strife.

As a young foreign correspondent, Girardet arrived in Afghanistan just three months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. Over the next decades, he trekked hundreds of miles across rugged mountains and deserts on clandestine journeys following Afghan guerrillas in battle as they smuggled French doctors into the country, and as they combated each other as well as invaders. He witnessed the world's greatest refugee exodus, the bitter Battle for Kabul in the early 1990s, the rise of the Taliban, and, finally, the US-led Western military and recovery effort that began in 2001.

Girardet's encounters with key figures-including Ahmed Shah Massoud, the famed "Lion of Panjshir" assassinated by al Qaeda two days before 9/11, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Islamic extremist massively supported by the Americans during the 1980s only to become one of today's most ruthless anti-Western insurgents, and Osama bin Laden-shed extraordinary light on the personalities who have shaped the nation, and its current challenges, from corruption and narcotics trafficking to selfish regional interests.

Killing the Cranes provides crucial insights into why the West's current involvement has turned into such a disaster, not only rekindling a new insurgency, but squandering billions of dollars on a recovery process that has shown scant success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603583183
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication date: 08/08/2012
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Edward Girardet is a journalist, writer, and producer who has reported widely from humanitarian and conflict zones in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere since the late 1970s. As a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour based in Paris, he first began covering Afghanistan several months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. He has worked on numerous television current affairs and documentary segments on subjects ranging from the war in Angola to lost tribes in Western New Guinea and environmental issues in Africa for major European and North American broadcasters. Girardet is a founding director of the Institute for Media and Global Governance in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also editor of Crosslines Essential Media Ltd (UK).

Girardet has written widely for major publications such as National Geographic Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, and other media on humanitarian, media, and conflict issues. In addition to Killing the Cranes, he has also written and edited several books, notably Afghanistan-The Soviet War (1985); Somalia, Rwanda and Beyond (1996); Populations in Danger (1996); and The Crosslines Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan(1998, 2004 and 2006). Girardet lives with his family in Cessy, France, near the Swiss border with Geneva.

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

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