View Full Version : New literature on Afghanistan...

Johannes U
09-05-2016, 06:23 PM
Hello. I will (probably - not sure yet, but 90% :o ) start my 1st mission with RSM beginning of October as a mountain warfare advisor in Afghanistan-N.
Are there any new books the community can suggest to read?
Thx in advance.

09-05-2016, 07:16 PM
I am sure the Forum's now closed threads on Afghanistan include links to articles on the Norwegian, maybe Swedish and German experience in northern Afghanistan. The US Army also learnt much after fighting in eastern Afghanistan, with a couple of documentaries e.g. Pech Valley Boys IIRC.

I have not spotted books as such.

Bill Moore
09-06-2016, 12:51 AM
Recommend starting with doctrinal readings, before reading historical books on Mountain Warfare. The doctrine will provide the context to pull the so-what out of the historical articles. There should be plenty of reading on Afghanistan available, but I also recommend reading about mountain warfare in northern Italy during WWI.

Recommend starting with brass tacks tactics in this U.S. Marine Manual on Mountain Warfare/Operations.


There appears to be a link the Army Field Manual on Mountain Operations here:


Very short read, very basic, but still worth looking over:

Mountain Warfare Lessons : The Soviet Afghanistan Campaign


Found the U.S. Army's 1944 Mountain Warfare Manual accidentally while looking for the current one.


09-07-2016, 02:53 AM
Col. Grau's articles on the Russian's in Afghanistan are an excellent way to start. They are referenced in the Georgia Tech paper.


09-07-2016, 11:44 PM
I just ordered this a couple days ago, looks pretty good:


Passing It On (reprinted as "Lessons in Imperial Rule") is a classic on the subject:


09-08-2016, 09:22 AM
Oddly this book, last published in 2008, is far cheaper via UK Amazon:https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lessons+in+imperial+rule

So Johannes U have a peek there!

09-08-2016, 09:32 AM
Cited in part:
I just ordered this a couple days ago, looks pretty good

Just scrolled through what else Helion Books offer and found this book, which may help Johannes U, even if the focus is not mountains 'What Went Wrong in Afghanistan? Understanding Counter-Insurgency Efforts in Tribalized Rural and Muslim Environments' by Metin Gurcan.

From the publishers description:
...the true determiner of both tactical outcomes on the ground and strategic results was always the tribal and rural parts of Muslim-populated Afghanistan. Although there has emerged a vast literature on counterinsurgency theories and tactics, we still lack reliable information about the motivations and aspirations of the residents of Tribalised Rural Muslim Environments (TRMEs) that make up most of Afghanistan. The aim of this book is to describe some on-the-ground problems of counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts in TRMEs - specifically in rural Afghanistan - and then to propose how these efforts might be improved. Along the way, it will be necessary to challenge many current assumptions about the conduct of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. Most generally, the book will show how counterinsurgency succeeds or fails at the local level (at the level of tactical decisions by small-unit leaders) and that these decisions cannot be successful without understanding the culture and perspective of those who live in TRMEs. Although engaging issues of culture, the author is not an anthropologist or an academic of any kind. He is a Muslim who spent his childhood in a TRME - a remote village in Turkey - and he offers his observations on the basis of 15 years' worth of field experience as a Turkish Special Forces officer serving in rural Iraq, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. Cultures in these areas are not the same, but there are sufficient similarities to suggest some overall characteristics of TRMEs and some general problems of COIN efforts in these environments. In summary, this book not only challenges some of the fundamentals of traditional counterinsurgency wisdom and emphasises the importance of the tactical level - a rarely-studied field from the COIN perspective - but also blends the first-hand field experiences of the author with deep analyses. In this sense, it is not solely an autobiography, but something much more.

The author's bio via Amazon UK:
After graduating from the Turkish War Academy in 1998 Metin Gurcan joined the Turkish Special Forces and served in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo and Iraq as the military adviser/liaison officer between 2000-2008. In 2008-2010 he achieved an MA degree in Security Studies from the US Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterey. In 2010-2014 he worked as an analyst officer in the Turkish General Staff. No longer working with the military, he is currently writing his PhD dissertation on changes to the Turkish military over the last decade. In 2014 he worked as a visiting research fellow at the Changing Character of War (CCW) at Oxford University on counterinsurgency efforts in tribal and Muslim settings. He has been published extensively in Turkish and foreign academic journals about the changing nature of warfare, terrorism, Turkish civil-military relations, military history and Turkish foreign policy.

Some good prices via:https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/1911096001/ref=tmm_pap_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1473326916&sr=1-1

Johannes U
09-10-2016, 08:12 AM
for the replies.
A few books ring a bell, but I will keep on searching. Lester Grau is of course well known :):)
Are there any books from the ex-Soviet time (other than by Mr Grau) that you know of?