This is a sound book but it needs to be read in conjunction with a detailed study of US politics since 1945. Also the reader needs to have a good working knowledge of US and UK counter-insurgency doctrine, particularly how it has had to be learned by senior officers who were raised and trained in a time of Cold War. Furthermore, one cannot begin to appreciate the varied political and military policies implemented in Afghanistan since 2001 unless one is familiar with the trauma suffered by America as a result of the Vietnam war experience.
That said,the book confirms everything we know about the arguments, conflicts and errors that have pervaded the Afghanistan venture at every level. The conflict between US and UK military is certainly not exaggerated. One of the main reasons for this is the American poor opinion of the performance of UK soldiers in Iraq in the post-war period, some of which is completely justified.
The book amply confirms that the US and its NATO allies are losing and will lose this war-not that the word 'win' has any real meaning in irregular warfare.
I would have liked much more focus on Pakistan for it is that 'failed' state that holds the key to attaining any kind of stability in the region. A very worrying feature of Pakistan's many problems is whether she can be trusted to guard and secure her growing nuclear arsenal from those elements who wish to obtain access to them.
This book is a welcome addition to the growing number of excellent books and articles by academics, diplomats and journalists on the war in Afghanistan.