Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West's Afghanistan Campaign by Sherard Cowper-Coles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In May 2007, Cowper-Coles arrived in Kabul to take over as the Ambassador of an upgraded British Embassy. These are the memoirs of his experiences over the next three and a half years, as he made a great effort to try and steer the British goverment's effort in Afghanistan. It is not a book of history however but a memoir and, as such, can be a bit of slog. He describes the life of an ambassador, with all the diplomatic demands, week by week. He gives a clear picture of the daily life he had to lead and gives much credit to his staff in assisting him. He also gives a record the international effort that went on, as he flew out of Kabul back to London or to Washington or to some other capital to brief offials, or to participate in meetings that were organized to try and find a solution to Afghanistan. Buried in his memoir we get glimpses of his views on Afghanistan and his criticism of the emphasis on a military solution with the lack of strategy on the diplomatic or governance level. These views are informative, but you have to dig them out. It's a valuable book for anone intereseted in this subject but not one that is an easy read for the average reader.
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