Award-winning author and defense analyst Norman Friedman offers a first-rate, in-depth analysis of the radically new tactics and strategy used by the United States in Afghanistan. He then sets the Afghan war in the wider context of the war against terrorism, exploring the rationale for and consequences of the September 11 attacks. Friedman asserts that the terrorists' attacks were intended to inspire a wider movement in the Muslim world that would lead to a pan-Muslim empire headed by Osama bin Laden. He argues that the attempt failed largely because of determined U.S. action and that the coalition's success in Afghanistan has moved the war on terrorism towards the realm of police and intelligence operations.
Although many books have examined September 11 and its aftermath, this work is the first to set the Afghan war in the context of an evolving U.S. tactical style that follows the new network-centric pattern and the first to use Afghanistan as a test of that pattern. The book also fully explores the contributions made by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps while fighting in the land-locked country and the importance of the use of maritime power in the future. Nor does Friedman neglect to acknowledge the role played by politics, including the ethnic politics of Pakistan. Finally, the author's careful examination of the new concepts of warfare as applied to the Afghan war provides valuable lessons to those concerned about future conflicts.