How We Won and
Lost the War
Published by University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books
"The best book yet to explain what the civilians in Afghanistan at the district level actually were doing and trying to do. Highly readable it contains much from which we could learn if we have the will to do so."
- Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann (ret.)
"This is a well-told story and a must-read for those who want to understand the obstacles to success in Afghanistan."
- Publisher Weekly
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How We Won and Lost the War in Afghanistan provides a firsthand account of how the war in Afghanistan was won in a rural district south of Kandahar City and how the newly created peace slipped away when vital resources failed to materialize and the United States headed for the exit. The story follows a small group of Americans as they work to empower the only people who would be able keep out the Taliban in years to come; the Afghans themselves.
Wide ranging, insightful and above all personal, with copious quotations and descriptions of life in the field, it places the reader at the heart of the American counter-insurgency effort and reveals the Afghans who won the war to be hard-working, competent officials who were seldom given a chance to succeed.
This is a story that has never been told. It is the first look at what motivated the Afghans, and reveals what the Afghans thought of how the war was run. Often the Afghans were dumbfounded at the American decisions that routinely foiled their plans and desires. And it overturns the conventional wisdom that has pegged the Afghans as disorganized, lazy and corrupt.
Grindle has gone more than the extra mile. Crisscrossing the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, we sometimes met in the most unlikely places, ranging from Mosul to our last encounter in a stone aged village in the Afghan hinterlands. What a strange place to meet. Doug Grindle truly has been there done that and writes from rare experience.
- Michael Yon, former Green Beret, war correspondent, and author of Moment of Truth in Iraq and Danger Close