‘The Panjshir Valley 1980-86’

I’ve just had my advance copies of my latest Osprey book on the Soviet war in Afghanistan, The Panjshir Valley 1980-86, in their Campaign series – it’s out on 28 October and available for pre-order.

Here’s the blurb:

When the Soviets rolled into Afghanistan in 1979, they believed if they took the cities, the country would follow. They were wrong. The Red Army found itself in a bloody stalemate in the Afghan mountains, in the strategically vital Panjshir Valley, where they faced the most able and charismatic of the rebel commanders: Ahmad Shah Massoud, the ‘Lion of Panjshir’. Time and again the Soviets and their Afghan counterparts sought to take control of the Panjshir, and time and again the rebels either rebuffed their clumsy attempts or ambushed and evaded them, only to retake the valley as soon as Moscow’s attention was elsewhere. Over time, the rebels acquired new weapons and developed their own tactics – as did the Soviets. The Panjshir was not just a pivotal battlefield, it also shaped the subsequent Afghan civil wars that followed Soviet withdrawal, and the military thinking that is still informing the new Russian military. Featuring striking colour artwork battlescenes and detailed maps of the fighting, this is a compelling study of one of the hardest fought struggles of the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

Here are some more pictures, giving a sense of the mix of text, 3d figures, maps and illustrations.

Of course, the Panjshir also turned out to be the last serious focus of resistance to the Taliban this year (under Massoud’s son) – and may well again become a region Kabul – whoever controls it – cannot truly conquer.

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