The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
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With a new foreword by the author,The Dogs are Eating Them Now is a highly personal narrative of our war in Afghanistan and how it went dangerously wrong. Written by a respected and fearless former foreign correspondent who has won multiple awards for his journalism (including an Emmy for the video series "Talking with the Taliban") this is a gripping account of modern warfare that takes you into back alleys, cockpits, and prisons –telling stories that would have endangered his life had he published this book while still working as a journalist. Smith was not simply embedded with the military: he operated independently and at great personal risk to report from inside the war, and the heroes of his story are the translators, guides, and ordinary citizens who helped him find the truth. They revealed sad, absurd, touching stories that provide the key to understanding why the mission failed to deliver peace and democracy.
From the corruption of law enforcement agents and the tribal nature of the local power structure to the economics of the drug trade and the frequent blunders of foreign troops, this is the no-holds-barred story from a leading expert on the insurgency. Smith draws on his unmatched compassion and a rare ability to cut through the noise and see the broader truths to give us a bold and candid look at the Taliban's continued influence–and at the mistakes, catastrophes, and ultimate failure of the West's best intentions. And with the American retreat from Afghanistan in 2016 still a point of contention, there has never been a more urgent need for a comprehensive and intelligent look at our war in Afghanistan.
said. That day, and the next, and the next, the troops stayed on the fringes of the valley and watched the pyrotechnics of aircraft and artillery strikes. The soldiers woke before dawn every morning and waited for the order to attack, but it seemed the new plan was still being formulated at higher levels. The Taliban sometimes poked out from among the trees and fired toward the armoured vehicles, but the skirmishes didn’t amount to much. I got so comfortable on the front lines that I made the
this wasn’t good for his career, describing NATO’s triumph as the killing of farmers with legitimate grievances. But he continued anyway: “I recently saw the report where they listed the names of the so-called Taliban commanders. Among them, knowing this area more or less—not all of them, of course, but some of them—I saw they are not Taliban. They were listed by internationals because internationals were informed by the local [Afghan] administration. And still we have the people who are trying
whether the villager who offered you tea secretly worked for the insurgents. Even when shooting at you, they rarely showed more than a muzzle flash. Every day brought new warnings: two suicide bombers planning to hit military convoys; no, scratch that, five bombers going after UN installations; no, forget it, today you should watch for jihadists posing as taxi drivers. Many of these warnings mentioned Kandahar’s most common vehicle, the white Toyota Corolla, so every car on the road seemed like a
and rolled under the seats as the smuggler crawled slowly along the gravel roads of the base, carefully observing the speed limit to avoid the military police. Life settled into a new routine in the aftermath of the raid on my office. I spent most nights at the military base, often venturing into the city for research in the daytime. But passing between those two worlds on a regular basis sometimes felt jarring, as if crossing between parallel universes, and my sense of discomfort would only
The Afghans did the opposite, bailing out of their pickup trucks and charging forward. Two of the Afghan soldiers had been wounded, and many others had miraculously avoided injury when an anti-tank mortar slammed into their tailgate—the mortar was a dud, fortunately, and the impact only shattered a rear window. This narrow escape seemed to embolden the local troops, who advanced to a ditch and looked back at the retreating British with scorn. Despite the Afghans’ bravery, it was the British who