Enduring Freedom Enduring Voices: US Operations in Afghanistan, Michael G. Walling

Enduring Freedom Enduring Voices: US Operations in Afghanistan, Michael G. Walling

This book focuses on US military operations in Afghanistan during most of the period of Operation Enduring Freedom, the overarching codename for the War of Terror between October 2001 and the end of 2014. The focus is on US military operations, with the narrative supported by a large number of eyewitness accounts of the fighting.

Some of the early campaigns come across as rather badly planned, with ill thought out command structures and insufficient resources. Even later on it is clear that US forces were often outnumbered, one impact of the unfortunate decision to go into Iraq while still engaged in Afghanistan, in the belief that the Taliban and its allies had been defeated. Even later on, during the Afghan ‘surge’, US forces don’t always come out on top - it was clearly very tricky to judge how strong to make an attack force.

This isn’t a history of the war itself, but instead focuses very heavily on US military operations. Events in parts of the country not under US control rarely appear in any detail. Afghan military efforts are mentioned more often but again mainly when they relate to US operations. As a result the book only portrays a partial picture of the overall conflict. It also feels like its too soon to come to any valid conclusions about the fighting in Afghanistan, which is still going on, even if the US contribution is currently (2017) on a much smaller scale (the text even stops a year before the official end of Operation Enduring Freedom at the end of 2014). However at the same time this gives more value to the eyewitness accounts, as they have been produced before the final outcome of the war is known, and are thus untainted by hindsight, especially as we get closer to the present day. They also take us into the heart of the action, giving a clear idea of the often confusing nature of the fighting in Afghanistan’s difficult terrain, and the many different approaches to the war taken during this period.

1 - Attack
2 - Prelude to War
3 - Reckoning: Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001
4 - Reckoning Part II: Operation Enduring Freedom, 2002
5 - Resurgence, 2003
6 - Transition, 2005-05
7 - Resurgence, 2006-07
8 - Reassessment, 2008
9 - Surge, 2009
10 - New Initiatives, 2010
11 - Drawdown, 2011
12 - End Game, 2012-13

Author: Michael G. Walling
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2015

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