Little America In Afghanistan

From long before 9-11, when American first tried to remake Afghanistan, to Obama’s surge.

US soldiers have lunch at the shopping area of the Kandahar military base, south Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug 2, 2006. (AP)

US soldiers have lunch at the shopping area of the Kandahar military base, south Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug 2, 2006. (AP)

America’s hand in Afghanistan arrived long before you might think.  On the trail of New York fur traders and Cold War competition, we were there in the 1950s.  Building a Little America in the desert.  Trying and failing to make the desert bloom.  Great story.  Not a great success.

And we’ve done it again in the years of Afghan war and surge, says the Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran.  He’s bringing the inside story of the “war within the war.”  The battle behind the surge.

This hour, On Point:  Rajiv Chandrasekaran and the long and winding story of America in Afghnistan.

-Tom Ashbrook


Rajiv Chandrasekaran, senior correspondent and associate editor of The Washington Post. He’s the author of Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan. You can read an excerpt here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Newsday “Like many of the troops and some of the civilians whose experiences in Afghanistan he chronicles, Washington Post journalist Chandrasekaran spent time in Iraq. His 2006 book, “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” showed in devastating detail how coalition forces’ isolation inside the bubble of Baghdad’s Green Zone hampered postwar reconstruction efforts.”

The Daily Beast “When Washington Post senior correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran went to Afghanistan to report on the troop surge ordered by President Obama in 2009, he found vicious bickering in the leadership that sabotaged a peace deal, generals who dispatched troops to the wrong places, and rogue commanders who killed civilians and cost soldiers their lives. ”

Foreign Policy “Photos from a time when tiki bars and afternoons at the pool dominated the lives of Americans in Afghanistan.”

Excerpt: Little America

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