British forces first deployed to Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, in a mission that was directed at removing the Taliban from power and hunting Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the terror group Al Qaeda.
Politicians had the support of the public after the devastating attacks on New York and Washington, and the stated aim was to provide security and stability for Afghanistan while, at the same time, making sure terrorists did not regroup in the country. Having secured Kabul, the UK government then agreed to move into Helmand and expand NATO’s security plan.
Politicians didn’t listen to their commanders on the ground yet, despite this, young men and women fought like lions. In the first year in Helmand, they defeated the enemy on the battlefield. But the success wasn’t reinforced so, with a grim sort of inevitability, the war dragged on. Instead of the planned, three-year mission as Ministers had announced, the conflict spanned the tenures of three Prime Ministers, and cost the lives of 453 British service personnel. There were also thousands of Afghan fatalities, as well as hundreds of wounded British soldiers. This first issue of a brilliant new series, written by David Reynolds, is a 100-page, perfect-bound publication that covers Britain’s intervention in the conflict, and the early years of the bloody campaign.
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