The Long Way Back: Afghanistans Quest for Peace

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As a privileged insider, he also fails to discuss the very obvious lack of a coherent strategy that both the Afghan government and the international community would both sign on to and follow. In short, the international effort in Afghanistan has been, and still is, the sum of any number of disparate strategies and approaches.


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The resulting incoherence represents the single largest impediment to the development of a professional and responsive Afghan government. It is disappointing that Alexander does not really examine the reasons that the international community has failed to develop a coherent strategy to support Afghans. More importantly, he exposes some of the important fault lines within the Afghan elite without being judgemental, and he portrays major figures as independent actors instead of the caricatures usually captured by the western media. He has done much to dispel the stereotype of a backward country and people that are beyond hope.

For example, much of one chapter is dedicated to the revival of Afghan arts and culture. This alone is enough to make this a book worth reading. Unlike Alexander, Glavin makes no effort to provide strategic analysis.

The Long Road to Peace in Afghanistan

Instead, his intent is to counter the stereotypical views of Afghanistan that have become embedded in the western psyche over the past decade. Glavin sets up this construct early in the book when he contrasts the mythical Absurdistan of suicide bombers, terrorists and crooks with his perceived reality of a bustling, anarchic and thriving Kabul. It allows him to present the reader with an alternative view to that generally presented by the mainstream media and, at the same time, to criticize the most absurd aspects of the international intervention.

But Alexander also lived in Afghanistan for years. He knows the country and its history well. Already, he says, there is much to celebrate. He focuses too much on political processes, rather than results that most Afghans might notice and appreciate.

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Alexander, to his credit, puts truth before politics. He does so, it seems, because he genuinely loves the country he spent six years trying to help. They have been fighting proxies carefully nurtured on Pakistani soil.


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The failure to describe this conflict in its true terms has simply prolonged it. Our inability to censure this behavior in the strongest political terms has merely encouraged it further. This appeasement must end.

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THE LONG WAY BACK by Chris Alexander | Kirkus Reviews

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The Long Search for Peace in Afghanistan: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Efforts

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Item specifics Condition: Brand New: A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages. See all condition definitions - opens in a new window or tab Read more about the condition. About this product. Long Way Back : Afghanistan's Quest for Peace, Hardcover by Alexander, Chris, ISBN , ISBN , Brand New, Free shipping in the US Traces the historic achievements and bitter disappointments encountered on the road to political stability in a war-torn nation, paying homage to the ordinary Afghan citizens working towards a better future and to the Western troops risking their lives to protect this important endeavor.

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