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I Is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror in Afghanistan
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I Is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror in Afghanistan

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  88 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In early 1986 Kathy Gannon sold pretty much everything she owned (which wasn't much) to pursue her dream of becoming a foreign correspondent. She had the world to choose from: she chose Afghanistan. She went to witness the final humiliation of a superpower in terminal decline as the Soviet Union was defeated by the mujahedeen. What she didn't know then was that Afghanistan ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by PublicAffairs (first published September 1st 2005)
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Karlo Mikhail
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
"I is for Infidel.

J is for Jihad.

K is for Kalashnikov."

This special jihad-themed alphabet was part of a US-designed military training manual for mujahedeens in Afghanistan fighting soviet invaders back in the 1980s. Following the formula that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the US funded and armed conservative Afghan mullahs who were then billed as “freedom fighters” against the “Evil Empire.” Today the US is facing these very same mujahedeens in its global “War on Terror.”

Kathy Gannon’s
...more
Mary
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
The title of this book might as well be "A Short History of the Last 30 Years in Afghanistan and Pakistan," instead of the catchy memoir-ish cover and description. That's not to say the book isn't good, or isn't interesting- it's just not quite the witness-to-history memoir that any description I previously encountered had indicated. Gannon's position as a long-time AP correspondent does, however, lend her observations about the political situation in the region more authority, as she has simply ...more
Nick
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow, all that Afghanistan has suffered is not quite enough, and, after all those bloody decades, Hollywood feels that it would be fun to drop Bill Murray in for a good laugh at their expense. Not that I blame the U.S. for everything that has happened there--surely the Russians and the Pakistanis have even more to answer for, not to mention their own ethnic and religious factions--but anyone who thinks our short attention span foreign policy is blameless need only flip to the part of Kathy Ga ...more
Omnipotent Dystopian Now
Great account of a journalist who was able to offer some insight on the history of Afghanistan. This is a great read for the military history enthusiast, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about why Afghanistan is the way that it is.

I also highly recommend reading Doug Stanton's Horse Soldiers. Horse Soldiers doesn't fully capture the big picture of the situation in Afghanistan, but reading the two books back-to-back will prove to be quite a history lesson, as they offer two ve
...more
Walter Weary
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional, first-hand account of the diplomatic and military failure of American foreign policy in Afghanistan. Well organized and imminently readable it portrays a personal or humanitarian evaluation of the fiasco in Afghanistan. America cannot right the world's ills by force. It is time we realize that.
Molly
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It made me realize the mess everyone is in!
Sues57 Schroeder
I would add this to my list of "most recommened books on Afghanistan." Kathy Gannon managed to discern critical issues, before they were receiving serious consideration. Several recent books that have gotten attention; like Graeme Smith's "The Dogs are Eating Them Now," Carter Malkasian's "War Comes to Garmser," and Anand Gopal's "No Good Men Among the Living," seem to continue with Gannon's straighforward and strikingly clear analysis. It was also nice to read a book written by a journalist, ra ...more
just sarah
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a fair number of books on Afghanistan and no other has been more concise and clear in laying out all the key events and the rationale behind them in this nation's history. Ms. Gannon proves to be a gifted writer and an expert on this subject having spent 18 years in Afghanistan working for the AP. If you want to understand Afghanistan -- its people, its politics & its history -- read this book. If you want to see an Afghanistan ravaged by war, betrayal, inaction & being taken ...more
Alita
Jun 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Journalist Kathy Gannon was the first Western reporter inside Kabul after the U.S. started bombing following 9/11. This account provides a glimpse of her 18 years reporting for the AP on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and she has a detailed account of the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

Normally I avoid contemporary political non-fiction. I picked this one up because the author's stepdaughter is a former roommate and close friend of mine. Once I started, however, the book captured me in entirely on its
...more
Toria
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
I started this book having little to no understanding or knowledge of the events in Afghanistan outside of a reading of Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner'. Gannon laid out her material clearly in a manner that was enjoyable to read, and I feel that I have learnt a lot from it. As someone who doesn't ordinarily read non-fiction, I was surprised to find this an enjoyable and informative read. I would highly reccomend it!
Mehreen
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am fan of Kathy Ganon. A Canadian reporter who spent nearly two decades in Afghanistan reporting on the state's political affairs. This book is a excellent piece of factual record of the history of Taliban in Afghanistan to present date.
Highly recommended.
Chris
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is so eye opening. It really delves into the relationship with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. It's easy to read and helps you to understand the complex nature of the problems that are enveloping the middle east.
Mian Waheed
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short history of pre-911 Talibans' and post-911 Northern Alliance's rules in Afghanistan.
Bybecks
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really well written, well researched and thought provoking book!
Fahd
Apr 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first hand account of the Taliban regime and US invasion of Afghanistan, and the terror wrought by both, will put any best-selling thriller novel to shame.
Donna Kubiak
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concise and clear reporting of what happened in Afganistan to create such a raw country. She is a brave observer of a contradictory land and its people.
Anjum Rahman
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have ever read on the Afghan situation.
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“The West has to take a critical look at itself and examine the apparent double standards at work that allow it to attack Iraq for possessing weapons of mass destruction but not North Korea, whose leader shared Saddam Hussein's megalomaniacal qualities; that permit it to rail against Iran about nuclear weapons but be silent about Israel's arsenal; that allow it to only selectively demand enforcement of UN resolutions. The West has to own up to the mistakes it has made: such as with Abu Ghraib and the torture in Afghan prisons; in the errant attacks on civilians; in its disregard for the basic precept of a civilized legal system, which maintains that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty.” 2 likes
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