Cables from Kabul : The Inside Story of the West's Afghanistan Campaign, Paperback Book

Cables from Kabul : The Inside Story of the West's Afghanistan Campaign Paperback

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A frank and honest memoir by Britain's former ambassador to Kabul which provides a unique, high-level insight into Western policy in Afghanistan.The West's mission in Afghanistan has never been far from the headlines.

For Sherard Cowper-Coles, our former Ambassador, Britain's role in the conflict - the vast amount of money being spent and the huge number of lives being lost - was an everyday reality.In Cables from Kabul, Cowper-Coles takes the reader on a journey through the backstreets of Afghanistan's capital to the corridors of power in London and Washington.

He pays tribute to the tactical successes of our soldiers but asks whether these will be enough to secure stability.

Nobody is better placed to tell this story of embassy life in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Powerful and astonishingly frank, Cables from Kabul explains how we got into the quagmire of Afghanistan, and how we can get out of it.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Memoirs
  • ISBN: 9780007432042

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Review by

Sherard Cowper-Coles gives an interesting account of his three years dealing with Afghanistan, but never reaches the depth of Ahmed Rashid s formidable trilogy on Afghanistan and the region.

Review by

This is a book about the limits of diplomacy. It's not so much the inside story of the west's campaign as the inside story of the inside of an embassy somewhere on the fringes of the west's (i.e. America's) campaign. And the inside story of an embassy tends to boil down to one thing: parties. There are parties, conferences, dinners, and social gatherings galore here, all underpinned with the constant refrain 'But why is nothing getting done?' At the outset, Coles admits the possibility that keeping the whole social whirl going may indeed be end in itself and one suspects that he might well be having his cake and eating it here - both indulging in the merry-go-round and complaining about its ineffectiveness in actually changing much. Being a good diplomat, Coles tends not to go too far in any direction opinion-wise, and so the whole narrative tends to drag with boredom. It is only in the final chapter that he redeems things somewhat, engaging in a relatively convincing polemic about the need for proper political control in Afghanistan.

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