Fighting the Forever War

The U.S. Service Member Experience in Afghanistan, 2001–2014


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About the Book

During two decades of fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. service members confronted numerous challenges in their mission to secure the country from the threat of al-Qaeda and the Taliban and assist in rebuilding efforts. Because the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan occurred simultaneously, much of the American public conflated them or failed to notice the Afghanistan War; and most of the war’s archival material remains classified and closed to civilian researchers. Drawing on interviews and letters home, this book relates the Afghanistan War through the experiences of American troops, with firsthand accounts of both combat and humanitarian operations, the environment, living conditions and interactions with the locals.

About the Author(s)

Lisa M. Mundey is an American and military historian who has worked both in academia and U.S. Army history. She has written extensively on U.S. operations in Afghanistan. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Lisa M. Mundey

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: 86 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8889-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4682-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 4
1. First Impressions 15
2. Living Spaces 36
3. Getting to Know the Locals 62
4. Patrols and Combat 84
5. Air War 115
6. Embedded Trainers 137
7. Working with the Afghans 155
8. Surge and ­Draw-Down 173
9. Meaning and Memory 189
Conclusion 202
Glossary 209
Chapter Notes 211
Bibliography 239
Index 249

Book Reviews & Awards

“With impressive rigor and exhaustive comprehensiveness, the author provides a ‘ground-up perspective of those Americans who served in Afghanistan, not from the top-down levels of strategy and policy.’… [Mundey] covers every imaginable sphere of military life—the frequently austere living conditions, sexual relations among soldiers, illicit drug use, and the profoundly forbidding terrain and weather. What lucidly emerges is an intriguing and complex picture of American soldiers confronting a world so alien that they often found it difficult to sympathize with the plight of the Afghans. …Mundey’s presentation is admirably nuanced—she limns a war in constant evolution, one in which the mission objectives were subject to significant revisions over time. The author’s prose is journalistically precise and straightforward as well as refreshingly sober and unencumbered by ideological partisanship. Instead of tired talking points, readers are treated to something despairingly rare these days: a faithful description supplied by the witnesses themselves. A remarkable, thorough tour of the war in Afghanistan given by soldiers who fought there.”—Kirkus Reviews