Description : Why has the Taliban been so much more effective in presenting messages that resonate with the Afghan population than the United States, the Afghan government and their allies? This book, based on years of field research and the assessment of hundreds of original source materials, examines the information operations and related narratives of Afghan insurgents, especially the Afghan Taliban, and investigates how the Taliban has won the information war. Taliban messaging, wrapped in the narrative of jihad, is both to the point and in tune with its target audiences. On the other hand, the United States and its Kabul allies committed a basic messaging blunder, failing to present narratives that spoke to or, often, were even understood by their target audiences. Thomas Johnson systematically explains why the United States lost this "battle of the story" in Afghanistan, and argues that this defeat may have cost the US the entire war, despite its conventional and technological superiority.
Description : Why has the Taliban been so much more effective in presenting messages that resonate with the Afghan population than the United States, the Afghan Government and their allies? This book, based on years of field research and the assessment of hundreds of original source materials, examines the information operations and related narratives of Afghan insurgents, especially the Afghan Taliban, and investigates how the Taliban has won the information war. Taliban messaging, wrapped in the narrative of jihad, is both to the point and in tune with the target audiences it wishes to influence. On the other hand, the United States and its Kabul allies committed a basic messaging blunder, failing to present narratives that spoke to or, often, were even understood by their target audiences. Thomas Johnson systematically explains why the United States lost this "battle of the story" in Afghanistan, and argues that this defeat may have lost the U.S. the entire war, despite its conventional and technological superiority.
Description : This book is an account of the emergence and key events related to the origin and expansion of Pakistani Taliban since 2001, with a focus on the role of religion in their actions, policies and worldviews. The author brings to light rare insight into the ideological basis of Pakistani Taliban, drawing upon first-hand research comprising participant observation, interviews, content analysis of organizational literature and Talibani communications, such as recruitment videos, recorded speeches, leaflets and pamphlets, jihadi anthems and press releases to the local media. The book demonstrates how religion simultaneously appears as an object to be defended, as a threat, as the purpose of violence, as the source of rules and limitations on violent action and as the source of motivational imagery and myths. Going into an analysis of just what role religion plays in violent activities of this group and how does it do so, the author shows that Talibani narratives are both secular and religious at the same time, contradicting a clear-cut divide between religious and secular motivations for violence. The book advocates against extreme positions that accord religion either a primary or a negligent position in explaining the raison d’être of Pakistani Taliban. It makes a plea for more informed and empathetic approach instead of the purely militaristic stance towards extremism, which has only helped it grow in the past.
Description : The archetype of 'my enemy's enemy is my friend', India's political and economic presence in Afghanistan is often viewed as a Machiavellian ploy aimed against Pakistan. The first of its kind, this book interrogates that simplistic yet powerful geopolitical narrative and asks what truly drives India's Afghanistan policy.
Description : An Intimate War tells the story of the last thirty-four years of conflict in Helmand Province, Afghani- stan as seen through the eyes of the Helmandis. In the West, this period is often defined through different lenses - the Soviet intervention, the civil war, the Taliban, and the post-2001 nation-building era. Yet, as experienced by local inhabitants, the Helmand conflict is a perennial one, involving the same individuals, families and groups, and driven by the same arguments over land, water and power. This book - based on both military and re- search experience in Helmand and 150 inter- views in Pashto - offers a very different view of Helmand from those in the media. It demonstrates how outsiders have most often misunderstood the ongoing struggle in Helmand and how, in doing so, they have exacerbated the conflict, perpetuated it and made it more violent - precisely the opposite of what was intended when their interventions were launched. Mike Martin's oral history of Helmand under- scores the absolute imperative of understanding the highly local, personal, and non-ideological nature of internal conflict in much of the 'third' world.
Description : With the U.S. war in Afghanistan in its twelfth year, axioms regarding the American national will in war not being able to tolerate anything other than quick and costless adventures have been found useless in understanding why the U.S. continues to persist in that endeavor. This book answers complex questions about modern US intervention abroad.
Description : This volume explores the way governments endeavoured to build and maintain public support for the war in Afghanistan, combining new insights on the effects of strategic narratives with an exhaustive series of case studies. In contemporary wars, with public opinion impacting heavily on outcomes, strategic narratives provide a grid for interpreting the why, what and how of the conflict. This book asks how public support for the deployment of military troops to Afghanistan was garnered, sustained or lost in thirteen contributing nations. Public attitudes in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe towards the use of military force were greatly shaped by the cohesiveness and content of the strategic narratives employed by national policy-makers. Assessing the ability of countries to craft a successful strategic narrative, the book addresses the following key areas: 1) how governments employ strategic narratives to gain public support; 2) how strategic narratives develop during the course of the conflict; 3) how these narratives are disseminated, framed and perceived through various media outlets; 4) how domestic audiences respond to strategic narratives; 5) how this interplay is conditioned by both events on the ground, in Afghanistan, and by structural elements of the domestic political systems. This book will be of much interest to students of international intervention, foreign policy, political communication, international security, strategic studies and IR in general.
Description : Do the news media have any role in the transformation of war and warfare? Focusing on television, this book argues that the news media alters the cognitive and strategic environment of the actors of war and politics and therefore changes the way these interact with one another.
Description : This is the autobiography of Abdul Salam Zaeef, a senior former member of the Taliban. His memoirs, translated from Pashto, are more than just a personal account of his extraordinary life. My Life with the Taliban offers a counter-narrative to the standard accounts of Afghanistan since 1979. Zaeef describes growing up in rural poverty in Kandahar province. Both of his parents died at an early age, and the Russian invasion of 1979 forced him to flee to Pakistan. He started fighting the jihad in 1983, during which time he was associated with many major figures in the anti-Soviet resistance, including the current Taliban head Mullah Mohammad Omar. After the war Zaeef returned to a quiet life in a small village in Kandahar, but chaos soon overwhelmed Afghanistan as factional fighting erupted after the Russians pulled out. Disgusted by the lawlessness that ensued, Zaeef was one among the former mujahidin who were closely involved in the discussions that led to the emergence of the Taliban, in 1994. Zaeef then details his Taliban career as civil servant and minister who negotiated with foreign oil companies as well as with Afghanistan's own resistance leader, Ahmed Shah Massoud. Zaeef was ambassador to Pakistan at the time of the 9/11 attacks, and his account discusses the strange "phoney war" period before the US-led intervention toppled the Taliban. In early 2002 Zaeef was handed over to American forces in Pakistan, notwithstanding his diplomatic status, and spent four and a half years in prison (including several years in Guantanamo) before being released without having been tried or charged with any offence. My Life with the Taliban offers a personal and privileged insight into the rural Pashtun village communities that are the Taliban's bedrock. It helps to explain what drives men like Zaeef to take up arms against the foreigners who are foolish enough to invade his homeland.
Description : Conducting Counterinsurgency uses the personal experiences of officers and soldiers from RTF4 - described in their own words - to illustrate the principles of counterinsurgency operations. The book provides a vivid and personal snapshot of the work of these soldiers, the challenges they faced and their interaction with the local people during their tour of duty. This is a first-hand account of counterinsurgency operations conducted by the contemporary Australian Army in its fight against the Taliban. Conducting Counterinsurgency sheds light on the little- understood operations of the Australian Army in Afghanistan and is a must for military professionals and commentators and