The Forty-Year War in Afghanistan

The Forty-Year War in Afghanistan:A Chronicle Foretold

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The story of NATO's disastrous occupation of Afghanistan, and how it repeated the mistakes of the Soviet occupation which preceded it

The NATO occupation of Afghanistan is over, and a balance-sheet can be drawn. These essays on war and peace in the region reveal Tariq Ali at his sharpest and most prescient.

Rarely has there been such an enthusiastic display of international unity as that which greeted the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Compared to Iraq, Afghanistan became the 'good war.' But a stalemate ensued, and the Taliban waited out the NATO contingents. Today, with the collapse of the puppet regime in Kabul, what does the future hold for a traumatised Afghan people? Will China become the dominant influence in the country?

Tariq Ali has been following the wars on Afghanistan for forty years. He opposed Soviet military intervention in 1979, predicting disaster. He was also a fierce critic of its NATO sequel, ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’. In a series of trenchant commentaries, he described the tragedies inflicted on Afghanistan, as well as the semi-Talibanisation and militarisation of neighbouring Pakistan. Most of his predictions proved accurate. The Forty Year War in Afghanistan brings together the best of his writings and includes a new introduction.


  • Praise for The Duel: 'Ali’s discussion of Afghanistan is highly valuable because of the questions it raises … a starting point for a much-needed debate.'

    Ray BonnerNew York Times
  • Praise for The Extreme Centre: “The typical Financial Times reader might find his bias so irksome they cannot continue. This would be a pity.”

    Financial Times
  • Evergreen ... Ali has argued against each occupation from its beginning; the result is an embittered, haunting refrain.

    Eileen GonzalezForeword Reviews