How Afghanistan became, and may remain, a safe haven for terrorists


Deepak Tripathi (Potomac Books, 2011)

Beginning with the Communist Saur Revolution of 1978 and continuing through Gen. David Petraeus’s 2010 appointment replacing Stanley McChrystal as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, this book is an inside account of one of the most vicious conflicts fought between the two Cold War superpowers: the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–89). Analyzing the behind-the-scenes decisions made in Moscow, Washington, and Kabul, former BBC correspondent Deepak Tripathi shows how that conflict transformed Afghanistan into a sanctuary for terrorism.

Explaining how Afghanistan descended into a civil war from which the Taliban emerged, Tripathi explores the ways in which the country ultimately became a grotesque mirror image of the anticommunist alliance of U.S. forces and radical Islamists in the Cold War’s final phase. Calling for a departure from the current pursuit of military strong-arm tactics, he advocates an approach that is centered on development, internal reconciliation, and societal reconstruction in Afghanistan.

DEEPAK TRIPATHI PhD, FRHistS, FRAS, is a British historian and former journalist whose interests include the Middle East and South Asia, the Cold War and the United States in the world. He is currently an honorary fellow at Exeter University, and was an honorary fellow at Roehampton University in London (2012-2015). Earlier, his long career (1974–2000) was spent primarily with the BBC. This book is part of a trilogy that also encompasses Imperial Designs: War, Humiliation and the Making of History (2013) and Overcoming the Bush Legacy in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010), published by Potomac Books.

RICHARD FALK is Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University.

“Tripathi describes how Afghanistan’s role as a Cold War battleground between the occupying Soviet Union and US-supported radical Islamists fighting Soviet occupation and the subsquent civil war from which the Taliban emerged helped set the stage for Afghanistan to emerge as a sanctuary for terrorism … reconstructs the political and military developments from 1979 onwards, including the consequences of the decisions made in the capitals of the United States and the Soviet Union.” – Reference and Research Book News Journal 

“Breeding Ground makes a significant contribution toward understanding the origins and triggers of terrorism.” – Marjorie Cohn, professor, Thomas Jefferson Law School, National Lawyers Guild Review  History News Network 

“The most authoritative and insightful study on the subject, traces the cause squarely to Soviet and U.S. invasion and occupation.” – Gary Olson, professor, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 

More reviews:  Foreign Policy Journal – Palestine Chronicle

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