Adrian Weale

Goodbye to Helmand

Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World

By Christina Lamb

William Collins 640pp £25 order from our bookshop

The Good War: Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan

By Jack Fairweather

Jonathan Cape 512pp £20 order from our bookshop

Diary Rooms: Being Human on the Front Line in Afghanistan

By Derek Eland

The Big Ideas Library 189pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

It isn’t entirely true to say that the US-led Western intervention in Afghanistan has been an unmitigated disaster. For example, around 80 per cent of the Afghan population have access to basic health care, up from 9 per cent under the Taliban regime; more than eight million children, a third of them girls, are in education, compared to one million in 2001. But it cannot be denied that these successes have come at a huge cost in terms of blood – mostly, but certainly not exclusively, Afghan – and treasure. The United States has spent rather more than a trillion dollars there since 2001 and while other participants did not match the magnitude of America’s financial involvement, significant sums were nonetheless expended.

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