Afghanistan - Britain's War in Helmand by David Reynolds

9780955781339 DRA Books

Afghanistan- Britain's War in Helmand is the first historical account of Britain's war in Afghanistan from the intervention in 2001 to the withdrawal of forces in 2014.  The book highlights the historical setting of Afghanistan, then covers the deployment of the first UK troops into Bagram in 2001, followed by the initial peace support mission in Kabul carried out under the umbrella of Nato's newly established International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  The then Prime Minister Tony Blair, agreed to back ISAF's expansion of security into Helmand Province in the south in 2006, while UK forces were still engaged in a high intensity operation in Iraq. The initial force had been warned for a ‘robust’ peace support operation. Instead, they found themselves in a bloody ‘break in battle’ with the enemy. The plan was to deliver an 'ink spot' of security and stability to one area around the capital Lashkar Gah and the strategic town of Gereshk, which sat alongside the main highway to Kandahar. The vision was to then duplicate this template across Helmand.  But the concept was quickly abandoned when the Brigade Commander was forced to deploy troops across Helmand to protect Government buildings, known as District Centres - the equivalent of council buildings in the UK. In the years that followed the war saw some of the bloodiest face-to-face fighting since the Korean war. Time and time again the Taliban were tactically defeated on the battlefield, but the enemy adopted the IED as their weapon of choice and employed it with devastating effect. Military commanders called for more resources, while 'risk averse' politicians urged caution. The book highlights the battles across Helmand and the extraordinary courage of young men and women in extraordinary circumstances in a conflict which saw the award of three Victoria Crosses.