AFGHANISTAN: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban

By Grau, Lester W. | Military Review, January/February 2005 | Go to article overview

AFGHANISTAN: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban


Grau, Lester W., Military Review


AFGHANISTAN: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban, Stephen Tanner, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA, 2002, 35 !pages, $17.95.

There have been several excellent military histories written about Afghanistan, including A.E. Snesarev's Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Fall of the Taliban, published in Russian in 1921; Percy Sykes' two-volume A History of Afghanistan, published in English in 1940; AIi Ahmad Jalali's three-volume Military History of Afghanistan, published in Dari in 1976; and Yu V. Gankovskiy's A History of the Armed Forces of Afghanistan, published in Russian in 1985. Unfortunately, all are difficult to find today and only one is published in English. Stephen Tanner has done well producing a quick English-language history about an obscure area of the world that suddenly is vitally important.

Afghanistan sits at the crossroads of empires and has long been a battleground. The Greeks, Indians, Persians, Mongolians, British, and Russians have tried to hold Afghanistan. Internal strife has been constant, and Afghan forces have always been better prepared to tight an internal threat than an external invasion. Afghanistan's warring mountain tribes have always proven the invaders' ultimate test. Today, as the United States and other coalition forces are sitting in Afghan cities and airfields, there is a pressing need for a book that provides the history and background of this land-locked mountainous country. …

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