Being there . . . aviation buff, or simply Mr. and Mrs. Air Military-Curious, for a chronological
and complete overview of our Afghanistan air fighting victories and defeats between 1971 and
- Expertly written for all interested, this beautifully designed and professionally published
treatise details for those so intrigued they want more areas for further serious research or
general reading. In his final two chapters, “Endgame 2015 -2021” and “The Benefits of
Hindsight”, author Michael Napier offers his own assessment of the events he has so
meticulously described, leaving it to you to draw your own conclusions as to whether it was
worth all our time, effort, and expense. His two maps are priceless, showing as much detail as
possible but omitting certain locations for obvious reasons. Within the first dozen pages, you’ll
come to know and appreciate Michael, realizing this aviator is made of the real stuff of what
brilliant and brave writers are fashioned. He has written 12 published aviation books, including,
“Flashpoints”, “The Korean Air War”, “In Cold War Skies”, and “The Royal Air Force: A
Centenary of Operations”, all published, naturally, by Osprey. He is an ex-RAF Tornado pilot
who saw front-line service during the Cold War as well as combat experience over Iraq. So,
reader, climb in, sit behind Mike, snap on that heavy seatbelt, and let’s roar almost straight up
into that magnificent blue . . . .
“AFGHAN AIR WARS – – Soviet, US and NATO Operations 1979 – 2021”, by Michael Napier.
OSPREY PUBLISHING/ Bloomsbury Publishing Plc: 2023, 320 pages, 7 ¾” x 9 ¾”, $40. Visit
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
Most of us have followed and know that of the US and NATO withdrawal in 2021,
Afghanistan had endured over 40 years of internal conflict, at first the USSR, and then a US-led
Coalition, attempted to establish some degree of stability in the country. The Soviet Union had
invaded in 1979, provoking an insurgency that lasted through to their withdrawal in 1989. US
and allied Coalition forces invaded in late 2001 in response to the Al Qaeda attacks on 9/11.
What began as a small-scale operation of 2,500 troops with the limited objective of destroying
Al Qaeda became even larger, growing to over 100,000 troops ten years later.
Although aircraft had been involved in Afghanistan since 1919, the Soviet invasion brought
with it the large-scale use of helicopters and fighter-bomber aircraft, as well as air transport to
keep their army supplied and reinforced. However, the Soviet efforts were surpassed by the
massive deployment of US – led Coalition air forces in the 2000s. With 20 years of improved
technology and recent combat experience in Iraq and the Balkans, Coalition air power was a
formidable force: an extensive intelligence-gathering capability was backed by delivery
platforms for precision-guided munitions. Despite wielding this impressive firepower, the
Coalition presence in Afghanistan still came to an ignominious end with an evacuation airlift,
repeating the experience of the British 100 years earlier.
Illustrated with some 250 mostly color photos, official and previously unpublished privately
taken, AFGHAN AIR WARS also includes first-hand accounts by the aircrews involved. Thus,
superb color photos, and a few b & w, create a unique and comprehensive mosaic of the part
played by air power over Afghanistan in the last four decades.