Arthur Bonner, a New York Times reporter with long experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, spent most of 1985 and 1986 in Afghanistan and Pakistan researching the aftermath of the 1979 Soviet invasion of this mountainous, fiercely Islamic country. Bonner made another trip to Pakistan in mid-1987 to test his conclusions against recent events.
Bonner therefore brings both recent experience and the sharp eye of a veteran journalist to an analysis of the Afghan situation: the tenacity and courage of the resistance, the massive emmigration, and the toll taken by the seemingly endless conflict on the country and its people.
The author has seen both the great and small of Afghanistan--both the seared flesh of the hand that an Afghan mujahidin held in the fire to demonstrate his courage and the geopolitical reasons that impelled the former Soviet Union of set its might and treasure against a people who resisted with a fierce and sometimes (to Western eyes) thoughtless courage. This is the story of these antagonists--sobering, chilling, and finally enlightening.