"Malkasian evenhandedly examines the Garmser district in southern Afghanistan, where he was stationed as a political officer for the State Department between 2009 and 2011...deeply engaging work. Insightful, knowledgeable account of the "good war," intimately informed from the trenches." --Kirkus
"Malkasian is a fluent speaker of Pashto who spent two years as the senior political officer in Garmsir and became immersed in the area's history and intricate political structure. The book represents the kind of detailed study of Afghanistan that has been badly missing: Most people associated with the international military and development missions here come in for six-month or one-year stints. (Another valuable book, albeit with a vastly different background and purpose, is Noah Coburn's excellent ethnographic study, "Bazaar Politics.") One mark of Malkasian's analytical mettle is that he presents, more so than any other writer I've read, a clear and fair picture of the Taliban and why they enjoyed so much support in the south." --Mattheiu Aikins, New York Times
"In the nineteenth century Britain employed political officers on the troubled frontiers of its empire. They immersed themselves in their localities, learnt about the inhabitants and heard their stories. Carter Malkasian is an American twenty-first century political officer. Outwardly his deeply revealing book is about Afghanistan's experience of war over three decades, but it is also a mirror on the US itself. His message is clear: deep historical and cultural understanding is at the heart of good strategy." --Hew Strachan, Chichele Professor of the History of War, Oxford University
"Whether as cause or as effect, there have been very few books about America's longest war, and even fewer good ones. ... To this short list can now be added another great book on the Afghan war, Carter Malkasian's War Comes to Garmser
." -- John A. Nagl, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security.
"Afghan officials and U.S. commanders credit Malkasian with playing a critical role in the transformation of Garmser from one of the country's most violent, Taliban-infested districts to a place so quiet that some Marines wish they had more chances to fire their weapons." -- Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post
(8/13/2011 profile of Malkasian)
"[Malkasian's] rich, shrewdly constructed history of the area shows how tribal elders used the United States and the Taliban as resources in their own turf battles, which often revolved around access to irrigated land... Malkasian's gem of a concluding chapter... is best appreciated after a close reading of the preceding chapters. The effort will be amply repaid."--Foreign Affairs
About the Author
spent nearly two years in the Afghan district of Garmser, in war torn Helmand province as a political officer for the US Department of State. For the last decade, he has studied war, and written about it, and worked in war zones, including long stints in Iraq's Al Anbar province. The author of Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare
(named by Foreign Affairs as one of the ten books to read on counterinsurgency) and A History of Modern Wars of Attrition
, he has also served as the director of the stability and development program at the Center for Naval Analyses. He has a Ph.D. in history from Oxford University.