The Wars of Afghanistan
Chosen as one of the Washington Post's top 50 Notable Nonfiction Books of 2011

“This long-overdue work, which takes us up to the recent killing of Osama bin Laden, is the most authoritative account yet of Afghanistan’s wars over the past 30 years and should be essential reading for those wishing to forge a way forward without repeating the mistakes of the past.” –Washington Post

“Magisterial… A career U.S. diplomat, Tomsen served as Washington's special envoy to the Afghan resistance in 1989-92, an experience that gave him almost unrivaled personal insight into Afghanistan's slide from anti-Soviet jihad into civil war. His account of the country's political dynamics before, during, and after this period is exhaustively researched, levelheaded, and persuasive....The Wars of Afghanistan should have a place among the indispensable books on the topic.”–Foreign Affairs

“(Tomsen) draws extensively on his own contemporary dispatches to show that, throughout his long association with the region, he repeatedly and vainly warned successive administrations about the follies of their policies – or lack of them.” –Sunday Times (London)

“For those seeking to understand the origins of the west’s entanglement in Afghanistan, Peter Tomsen’s The Wars of Afghanistan offers deeper historical context… (Tomsen focuses) presciently on the fast-deteriorating relationship between Washington and Islamabad. He argues plausibly that the US has been hoodwinked by Pakistan, which has long used Afghanistan as a means of creating “strategic depth” against India and fomenting jihad against the west.” –Financial Times

“Peter Tomsen, a former U.S. envoy to "the Afghan resistance" from 1989 to 1992, reminds us in his sweeping history that the CIA has a miserable record in understanding the politics of the region. The Wars of Afghanistan is rich with details about his interactions with key players during this critical period. After the Soviet withdrawal, the United States continued to oppose compromise with the last Afghan communist ruler, Mohammad Najibullah, and to arm the mujahideen, including figures who are now fighting Americans. Drawing on these lessons, Tomsen persuasively calls for wresting policy-making away from the Pentagon and spy agencies, and advocates U.N. mediation of an Afghan peace process.” –San Francisco Chronicle 

“This weighty narrative...will be a major source for Afghan studies.” –Library Journal

“Ambassador and special envoy to Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, Tomsen combines scholarship, analysis, and personal experience in an encyclopedic if disturbing history of post-WWII Afghanistan. Readers will appreciate his expert…insights.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

After a distinguished career in foreign service, Tomsen served as President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, during a time of building an Afghan consensus following the Soviet withdrawal. Here, the author fashions an ambitious, wide-ranging, informed historical overview as well as a detailed record of his work, and the American failures since….Wise words from trial-and-error experience in the trenches.” –Kirkus

“It is also difficult to imagine a more impeccably informed author than Peter Tomsen…now retired from the State Department, [he] has kept a close eye on the region ever since, and…has produced a magnum opus. The Wars of Afghanistan is an important work and an urgent warning. Anyone with an interest US foreign policy in the region needs to read it, starting with our policymakers.” –Drug War Chronicle

“The reader will come away with a greater understanding of a land many of us knew little about, but in which we've had a military presence since 2002.”—

The Wars of Afghanistan offers fresh provocative solutions to shoring up the Afghan state, dealing with Pakistani intrigue and duplicity, and returning a measure of stability and peace to this persistently chaotic region.  This truly epic insider’s account of modern Afghanistan is indispensable reading for anyone wanting to understand one of America’s toughest foreign policy conundrums.”—Foreign Service Journal
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