Afghanistan: Lashkar Gah - Home of the Warriors Part II
By: Leonard H. Le Blanc III
Length: 478 pages
Release date: Sep 16, 2013
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Second and final part of this personal memoir of a year in Afghanistan. From 2007 to 2008 a highly experienced American served as an International Adviser to a small Afghan-led Counter-Narcotics Advisory Team in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province southwestern Afghanistan. Helmand Province was, and still is, the scene of half the world's opium poppy production and ground center zero of a raging Taliban-fueled insurgency. It is an intimate portrait of the activities to stem these twin scourges.
The adviser fully expected to confront the difficulties of being at the center of heavy fighting led by al-Qaeda and the Taliban with the attendant rockets attacks, mortar rounds, suicide bombers and heavy cross-fire, totally corrupt Afghan police and government officials and other support and supply problems being out on the 'cutting edge'.
But what he found were the most difficult problems, and what dragged all his efforts to a grinding halt, was the total venality, sheer incompetence and corruption of certain US Embassy officials in Kabul, the double-dealing, back-stabbing and mismanagement of certain US Agency for International Development (USAID) officials and the graft, sycophant fawning and illegal gift-giving of his fellow advisers in an effort to wreck the whole project that was the most eye-opening and unexpected. It is a microcosm of why U.S. efforts failed in Afghanistan - the damage was all self-inflicted.