The Long War: The Inside Story of America and Afghanistan Since 9/11

St. Martin’s. Oct. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9781250128423. $29.99. HIST
Award-winning foreign correspondent Loyn (Frontline: The True Story of the British Mavericks Who Changed the Face of War Reporting) offers insight on the motivations and tactics of insurgents, government officials, and the military as the United States leaves its longest war. Drawing on interviews with Kabul commanders, Taliban members, and Afghan journalists, as well as his knowledge of Afghanistan as an intermittent resident for nearly three decades, the author endeavors to assist both decision-makers and general readers in the often-forlorn quest of learning from history. Loyn divides his account into five phases, similar to military historian Carter Malkasian’s The American War in Afghanistan, which is so far the only comparable study with the same parameters. Phase One (2001–06) featured improvisation and lack of coordination among the military, civilians, and NGOs; Phase Two (2006–09) witnessed the regrouping of the Taliban and a devolution into a shooting war rather than a so-called “peace-keeping” war; Phase Three (2009–11) marked the Obama administration’s surge in troop numbers and a return to counterinsurgency; Phase Four (2011–14) saw the continuation of the war after NATO’s withdrawal; and Phase Five (2014–21) included the transformation of the role of American troops (from combat, to training and assisting) and the departure of the U.S. military.
VERDICT This retrospective (offered rather early for historical perspective, but in time for policy debates) provides valuable insight on the longest conflict in U.S. history.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing