Conflict & security, Munk School

Noted historian Carter Malkasian to discuss Gelber Prize-winning book at Nov. 10 talk

Just weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the American military began a bombing campaign against Taliban forces in Afghanistan. This was the opening salvo in what would become the longest war in the history of the American military, stretching across four presidential administrations, claiming more than 900,000 lives and costing the U.S. an estimated $8 trillion.

In 2021, nearly 20 years after the complex — and ultimately unsuccessful — conflict began, U.S. President Biden announced that the last of America’s troops had been withdrawn from Afghanistan. On November 10, noted historian Carter Malkasian will join Janice Stein to discuss the legacy of America’s longest war at an in-person Munk School event.Carter Malkasian

Malkasian, the Defense Analysis Department Chair at the Naval Post Graduate School in the U.S. Navy, is the author of The American War in Afghanistan: A History, which won the 2022 Lionel Gelber Prize, an award presented annually by the Munk School to the best book on international affairs.

The book details the political, military, and socio-cultural forces that shaped the war and is the first comprehensive history of the entire conflict. Drawing from local knowledge and documentation from primary sources, Malkasian takes readers through the war’s multiple phases and explains why it had such a disappointing outcome. 

The American War in Afghanistan proves a truly comprehensive and compelling history of the U.S. intervention, from the early days of 'Operation Enduring Freedom' to the Taliban’s resurgence as the U.S. forces pulled out of the country,” said Stein on behalf of the Lionel Gelber Prize jury. “It is a beautifully written and critically important book.”

From 2015 to 2019, Malkasian was the Special Assistant for Strategy to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford. Malkasian has extensive experience working in Afghanistan through multiple deployments throughout the country, is fluent in Pashto, and holds a doctorate in history from Oxford University.