The Afghan Way of War: How and Why They Fight

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, USA, Dec 12, 2011 - History - 375 pages
0 Reviews
Focusing on key episodes in Afghanistan's long history of conflict with foreign forces from the early nineteenth century to the present, this book sheds new light on the Afghan "Way of War." Robert Johnson shows that, contrary to the stereotypes of primitive warriors enflamed with religious fanaticism, Afghan warfare has been marked by constant change as Afghani methods evolved to face new threats.From the dynastic struggles and popular resistance movements of the nineteenth century to the ideological confrontations of recent decades, Afghans have long resisted political coercion, military intervention, and foreign influence. To do so, they have developed sophisticated strategic approaches to deal with both internal unrest and foreign intrusion, while at the tactical level outthinking and outfighting their opponents at every step. The final part of the book, which deals with how the Taliban has contested Western intervention by borrowing from traditions in Afghan history and culture, will be of considerable topical interest in light of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


A Contested History
The Era of the First AngloAfghan War
The Afghan Civil War 18638 and the Second AngloAfghan War 187881
4 The Pashtun Rising 18978
Third AngloAfghan War 1919 and Waziristan 1936
The Mujahideen Ideology and Guerrilla War 197889
7 The Civil War the Taliban and the Insurgency 19902011
8 Lessons Learned?
Select Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Robert Johnson is Lecturer in the History of War at Oxford University, and Deputy Director of the Oxford Changing Character of War Program. A former army officer, and frequent visitor to Afghanistan, he specializes in the history of the Afghans.

Bibliographic information