Five books has a wide range of interviews dedicated to books on Afghanistan, or that touch on it. Unsurprisingly, many of our Afghanistan book interviews focus on the country’s protracted political crisis.
Andrew Exum, who served as an US infantry officer in Afghanistan, before pursuing an academic career as a Middle East specialist, discusses the best books on Understanding the War in Afghanistan. Sandy Gall, the veteran journalist, who has been reporting from Afghanistan since the early 1980s, chooses his five best books on foreigners in Afghanistan. And leading academic Thomas Barfield offers an anthropologist’s choice for the best books to explain the culture and politics of Afghanistan.
A number of our interviews touch on the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The journalist Gretchen Peters selects her best books on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, while the historian, Paddy Docherty, offers his best books on the Khyber Pass. Anatol Lieven’s best books on understanding Pakistan and Fatima Bhutto’s best books on the politics of Pakistan also touch on this relationship, as do Peter Bergen’s best books on Osama bin Laden.
Many of our interviews on global politics, and on security and related issues, touch on Afghanistan. Mary Habeck’s best books on Terrorism and Mary Kaldor’s best books on War both discuss books that relate to the country. Professor John David Lewis on the best books on war and foreign policy, Chris Abbott on the best books on global security and Clare Lockhart on the best books on failed states all touch on the politics, security and geo-political role of Afghanistan. The journalist and author, Stephen Armstrong, chooses the best books on private armies and David Miliband, the former UK foreign secretary, chooses the best books on refugees.
Other books chosen offer more individual experiences of the country. Andy McNab, the former SAS trooper, chooses A Million Bullets, about soldiers’ experiences serving in Afghanistan in his best books on the politics of war. Gayle Lemmon chooses Burqas, Foulards et Minijupes by Anne Lancelot, looking at the experience of women in Afghanistan in her best books on Women and War.
You may also be interested in reading our Q&A with the author Taran Khan, whose book Shadow City: A Woman Walks Kabul, won the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year in 2021.