No Worse Enemy
The Inside Story of the Chaotic Struggle for AfghanistanBen Anderson
The war in Afghanistan is over ten years old. It has cost countless lives and hundreds of billions of pounds. Politicians talk of progress, but the violence is worse than ever.
In this powerful and shocking exposé from the front lines in Helmand province, leading journalist and documentary-maker Ben Anderson (HBO, Panorama, and Dispatches) shows just how bad it has got. Detailing battles that last for days, only to be fought again weeks later, Anderson witnesses IED explosions and sniper fire, amid disturbing incompetence and corruption among the Afghan army and police. Also revealing the daily struggle to win over the long-suffering local population, who often express open support for the Taliban, No Worse Enemy is a heartbreaking insight into the chaos at the heart of the region.
Raising urgent questions about our supposed achievements and the politicians’ desire for a hasty exit, Anderson highlights the vast gulf that exists between what we are told and what is actually happening on the ground. A product of five years’ unrivalled access to UK forces and US Marines, this is the most intimate and horrifying account of the Afghan war ever published.
Similar to Michael Herr's high-octane Vietnam War classic, Dispatches, Anderson delivers a gritty, brutal, realistic account of British and American troops on the Afghan frontlines in a bitter counterpoint to all the policy concessions and peace chatter.
"Unusually courageous… With humor, compassion and a fine eye for detail, Anderson meticulously pieces together each scene with the skill of a good choreographer… [This is] an engrossing blow-by-blow account of the nuts and bolts of modern warfare."
Anderson's book makes a vivid contribution to the record of the conflict, and left me gasping at his courage.
"An essential if unsettling synopsis that brutally strips away any pretence that this is a just or even necessary conflict ... Highly recommended for those with even a passing interest in what is being done in our name in far-off Afghanistan."
‘[A] brilliantly observed but troubling memoir… [an] outstanding book.’
"Wonderful… offers real insight into the war."