Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Ambassador Peter Tomson Discusses the Wars of Afghanistan

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Ambassador Peter Tomson Discusses the Wars of Afghanistan

Article excerpt

The Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC held a July 13 book signing by Ambassador Peter Tomsen, former American special envoy to the Afghan resistance, who discussed his new book: The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers.

Robert Hathaway, director of the Wilson Center's Asia Program, introduced Tomsen and briefly explained the importance of his book as we begin to see the end of "America's longest war." Hathaway pointed out that "this is not the first time a great power has found itself stuck in Afghanistan, which Hathaway dubbed 'A-baby.'

Tomsen began his remarks by saying that he wrote the book because he felt that the American people had no knowledge of Afghanistan's traditional, tribal, ethnic, religious or historic background-and that this was something he felt was imperative for a country at war to understand and acknowledge. He described his book as essential to understanding the mistakes that have been made in the war in Afghanistan and how they affected our position today. According to Tomsen, we need to "climb out of the Afghan political cauldron" and break the country's cycles of war-something we must figure out how to do both from within Afghanistan and from without.

His book is divided into four sections, the first of which provides an overview of Afghanistan's history and culture, highlighting modernization in Afghanistan, and the Soviet invasion of 1979.

The second section delves more deeply into the Soviet invasion and follows the nine-year war up to their departure. …

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