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Canada in Afghanistan: The War So Far [Hardcover]

Peter Pigott
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 28 2007

It has been said that Canada is a country with too much geography and too little history. Afghanistan has too much of both. As the war escalates in Afghanistan, more Canadians are asking what we are doing there. For a country that has specialized in peacekeeping, this war is a shock one that we have not yet comprehended. As the casualties mount, Canadians will want to know why we are there.

Canada in Afghanistan introduces readers to Afghans and their culture, gives historical background from our involvement since 9/11, and covers operations casualties and the results. Also included is an examination of a new strategic experiment the provincial reconstruction team and the technological advances used in this war. Cautionary predictions conclude the book. Canada in Afghanistan is an introduction to what is happening in Afghanistan and what we can expect through 2009.


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Review

It has been said that Canada is a country with too much geography and too little history. Afghanistan has too much of both. As the war escalates in Afghanistan, more Canadians are asking what we are doing there. For a country that has specialized in peacekeeping, this war is a shock — one that we have not yet comprehended. As the casualties mount, Canadians will want to know why we are there.

Canada in Afghanistan introduces readers to Afghans and their culture, gives historical background from our involvement since 9/11, and covers operations casualties and the results. Also included is an examination of a new strategic experiment — the provincial reconstruction team and the technological advances used in this war. Cautionary predictions conclude the book. Canada in Afghanistan is an introduction to what is happening in Afghanistan and what we can expect through 2009.

About the Author

With Canada in Afghanistan, well-known aviation author Peter Pigott has changed literary gears. Embedded with Canadian Forces in Kandahar, Pigott traces Afghanistan's ancient history to present-day media sound bites, meticulously incorporating Canadian involvement in the three Ds: defence, development, and diplomacy. Pigott lives in Ottawa.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good backgorund info, but bit bland perhaps Dec 11 2007
Format:Hardcover
I am looking for as much information about Canada's involvement in Afghanistan as I can get and this was not a bad introduction. I found the second half of the book a more interesting read and less like a school history book, making parts of this come across to me as a bit of a plain read. All that said, it's obvious a huge amount of research went into this book and is worth a read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
The subjects in Pigott's book Canada in Afghanistan: the war so far, are presented as such:

Ch 1 covers Afghan history

Ch 2 covers the build up of Cdn military involvement as well as the debut of aid and development programs.

Ch 3 covers aid and development projects as well as Info Ops.

Ch 4 covers equipment procurement and the political issues surrounding contracts etc.

My analysis of the book is as follows in point form:

Lots of personal accounts, but mostly from service and support personnel working out of Kandahar Airfield.

A few too many banal details, such as describing the entertainers and their acts presented for a CANCON show.

Numerous historical examples from Afghan, British, Canadian history. Some of which are not pertinent to the subject.

Omits accounts of combat operations (except for the battle of Maywand during the second Anglo-Afghan war). This omission is odd because Pigott states that it is the rural areas that are the life blood of afghan society and culture. There is no mention that it was the battles in the Panjawai-Zhari districts in late summer 2004 that secured these rural areas allowing aid and development projects to be carried out in the first place.

A lot of aid and development history. Covers successful aid and development projects not covered by the media, such as establishing an ammunition depot at Shirzai, but Pigott overlooked important shortcomings, such as failure to establish steady pay for the Afghan police.

Not much analysis or developed theories as to the outcome of Canada's role in Afghanistan.

As for covering Canada's combat role in what is primarily a combat mission, this book has numerous shortcomings.
This book is better suited for students, civilians interested in aid and development and looking to get a better overall situational awareness of Canada's humanitarian contributions to Afghanistan.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary History at its Worst Nov. 19 2007
By Old Dog
Format:Hardcover
I found this a deeply disappointing book. I am desperate to know more about the situation in Afghanistan, and bought this book with the desire to be a better informed citizen. But Pigott does not offer the goods. I understand the difficulty of writing contemporary history, but this book often reads like a series of quotes strung incoherently together. It tells us very little about the conflict, how Canadians found themselves at war, and what our soldiers are doing on the ground. I would point readers to the new book by Janice Stein on Afghanistan, which offers a far more comprehensive coverage of the war, and how we ended up fighting in a war that has now lasted longer than the First World War.
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