Magazine article New Internationalist

Desert of Death: A Soldier's Journey from Iraq to Afghanistan

Magazine article New Internationalist

Desert of Death: A Soldier's Journey from Iraq to Afghanistan

Article excerpt

Desert of Death: A Soldier's Journey from Iraq to Afghanistan by Leo Docherty (Faber, ISBN 9780571236893)

The rather melodramatic title of this memoir is the local name for a barren stretch of country in the south of Afghanistan's Helmand Province. Following a brief stint in Iraq, Captain Leo Docherty of the Scots Guards served there with the British Army from April to October 2006. As a Pashtu-speaking linguist, Docherty was initially happy to be in Afghanistan, participating in what he saw as a humanitarian and nation-building mission. However, he became increasingly disillusioned as he observed what was actually happening on the ground. The corruption of warlords and petty officials, the burgeoning opium poppy harvests, a resurgent Taliban, and the bungled army operations that resulted in civilian and military deaths led him to conclude that the occupation had failed and British troops should withdraw. …

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