By Rodric Braithwaite
In a well timed and eye-opening publication Rodric Braithwaite examines the Russian adventure in that almost all contemporary warfare in Afghanistan (after Alexander's conquests and the various British imperial wars and skirmishes). principally basing his account on Russian resources and interviews he indicates the conflict in the course of the eyes of the Russians themselves - politicians, officials, squaddies, advisers, journalist, ladies. As former ambassador to Moscow, Rodric Braithwaite brings certain insights to the Soviet struggle in Afghanistan. the tale has been distorted not just through chilly battle propaganda but in addition by way of the myths of the 19th century nice video game. It strikes from the excessive politics of the Kremlin to the lonely Russian conscripts in remoted mountain outposts. The parallels with Afghanistan at the present time communicate for themselves. 'A really good success of narrative heritage, delicate writing and fascinating clean research': so wrote Simon Sebag Montefiore approximately Rodric Braithwaite's bestseller Moscow 1941. yet these phrases, etc of compliment that got it, may possibly both follow to his new booklet.
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Additional info for Afgantsy - The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-89
Neither side had much stomach for the war, and it fizzled out after a month. The British ceased both their subsidies and their control of Afghan foreign policy. Amanullah promptly opened a fruitful relationship with the new Bolshevik government in Moscow – the first foreign government to do so. He then embarked on an ambitious programme of reform in imitation of the secularising reforms of Atatürk in Turkey. He 16 AFGANTSY established a Council of Ministers, promulgated a constitution, decreed a series of administrative, economic and social reforms, and unveiled his queen.
If they were to take a walk past the miles of export carpet shops and camel burger stalls they would reach the old city on the banks of the Kabul River and see part of the real Afghanistan. The old part of the city, which extends half way up the sides of the surrounding hills, is just like Herat, bazaars and filth, teeming with people. ’ 29 The hippies departed with the arrival of the Soviets in 1979. But apart from the influx of foreign soldiers and some incidental damage during the fighting, life in Kabul continued comparatively unchanged in many ways.
The British advance was opposed not only by the Afghan army, which they could deal with, but also by a widespread insurgency, which they had not expected and to which they could find no satisfactory answer. They suffered some spectacular reverses: the destruction in 1842 of an entire army and the defeat of part of the Kandahar garrison at Maiwand in June 1880. Both wars nevertheless technically ended in a British military victory followed by a salutary revenge. 17 Among the other villages and towns they also destroyed with fire and the sword were the beautiful village of Istalif, famous for its pottery, 26 AFGANTSY and the provincial capital of Charikar, where a company of Gurkhas had been wiped out the previous year.