Academic journal article Military Review

WAGING WAR IN WAZIRISTAN: The British Struggle in the Land of Bin Laden, 1849-1947

Academic journal article Military Review

WAGING WAR IN WAZIRISTAN: The British Struggle in the Land of Bin Laden, 1849-1947

Article excerpt

WAGING WAR IN WAZIRISTAN: The British Struggle in the Land of Bin Laden, 1849-1947, Andrew M. Roe, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 2010, 328 pages, $34.95.

The war in Afghanistan does not stop neatly at the impossible border with Pakistan. Al Qaeda and the Taliban take sanctuary just over the border in Waziristan where they rest, heal, rearm, train, and plan before they again launch into Afghanistan. Osama bin-Laden is rumored to have taken sanctuary in the area. Tribesmen and nomads wander freely over the putative border with little constraint. The area itself is rugged and hard to govern. Yet, it once was governed effectively. The British Indian Army and political administration dealt with this troubled area, where they suppressed several uprisings and defeated an invasion. They brought effective governance to the fractious inhabitants.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Roe, Ph.D., is a seasoned soldier of the British Green Howards, and a twotour veteran of Afghanistan. He has the career infantryman's appreciation of terrain, time, and distance. He also has the historian's grasp of the interaction of events and culture. He further has a good understanding of us "Yanks," since he graduated from both the Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth. Roe has provided an excellent account of British tribal management through subtle containment, not direct control.

British governance in the frontier region with Afghanistan relied on indigenous forces, indigenous leadership, incentives, and the occasional application of armed intervention and punishment. …

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