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While there is a vast amount of literature available on Iraqi operations, until now little has been written about the counterinsurgency and stabilization operations in Afghanistan. With this book, a Canadian military historian, who has observed field operations in Afghanistan since 2003, offers a clear view of what is happening in that country. It is the first to look at units unknown to most Americans—the provincial reconstruction teams, the embedded training teams, the strategic advisory team, among others—that helped the Afghan people establish a government. Working shoulder to shoulder with Afghans at all levels of society and at great personal risk, these international teams, the author argues, helped stave off a civil war and prevented the insurgents from exploiting the chaos.
Dr. Maloney observed the efforts of these teams as they unfolded in 2004 and 2005. His personal story takes readers on a journey from Badkashan province, the exotic and poppy-laden land in the north; to Kabul, the intrigued-filled capital; to Kandahar province in the south, where the threat of IED attacks was a daily occurrence. His astute observations about this international effort and how the Taliban has evolved are certain to help readers better understand the situation in Afghanistan today. His book is the first to provide details about how the reconstruction teams were organized, how they worked, and the problems they encountered while attempting to stabilize the provinces. Maloney argues that the war in Afghanistan is unique and the country and its people, as well as its insurgents, must be taken on their own terms, not in relationship to the American experience in Iraq, Vietnam, or any other conflict.
Sean M. Maloney is the Historical Advisor to the Canadian Army's Chief of the Land Staff and is an Associate Professor of History at Royal Military College of Canada. He served in Germany as the historian for 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade, Canada's Cold War NATO commitment in Europe. He has extensive research experience in the Balkans, Middle East, and particularly in Afghanistan where he has observed counterinsurgency operations in the field since 2003. He holds a Ph.D. from Temple University and is the author of nine books, including the controversial Canada and UN Peacekeeping: Cold War by Other Meansand Learning to Love the Bomb: Canadian Nuclear Weapons and the Cold War. He lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Click here to read the author's article on Afghanistan in Macleans magazine, April 30, 2009.
Praise for Confronting the Chaos
“Stabilization, nation building, and state formation are enormously difficult undertakings, and Sean Maloney demonstrates the complexity of these challenges well in Confronting the Chaos…The informed public and those interested in counterinsurgency and development doctrine will find the book useful as well. Maloney makes what is in some ways doctrinal analysis not only readable but also entertaining by structuring the book “as a travelogue”… His writing style is more like that of a journalist who really understands what he sees than it is of a conventional historian who strives for four-decimal-place precision. Maloney tells stories, recounts interviews, passes on observations, and more than once stops to analyze and explain the complexity of what he has seen. Confronting the Chaos is a welcome addition to current accounts of the effort to wage a successful campaign in Afghanistan.”
— Air Force Research Institute
"...[M]ust-read book. . . . Maloney provides a good look at the coalition mission through 2005 and the changing U.S. mission in the East. Understanding NATO and coalition goals and operations is a byzantine labyrinth. Maloney provides that understanding without losing his tactical focus. I strongly recommend his book to historians and military professionals alike."
â€”Military Review, March-April 2011