Chicken Street

Afghanistan before the Taliban: Clearing the Deadly Remnants of War

John Lane

Date Published :
March 2013
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
16pp color photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781909384262
Pages : 304
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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This captivating work tells of Afghanistan before the Taliban - a land of majestic mountains and arid plains, terrain contaminated by the deadly remnants of war; landmines and unexploded ordnance, silent killers ready to kill and maim the innocent and unsuspecting. A historic and timeless land of fearless warriors and never ending-conflict. A country where there have been many losers in years gone by - and where there will be many more … A no-man's land where no-one wins.

This is the true story of civil war and the broken lives of everyday citizens caught in the crossfire of events in Afghanistan, a tale of courage and stoicism, domesticity and death in the turbulent times that followed the Soviet withdrawal of 1989, and which saw the rise of Taliban control and the destructive succession of events since that time, all of which sets the context for the current conflict. It is a story of the perilous endeavour of the disposal of the debris of war, bringing tragedy in its wake, interwoven with the earlier transitory triumphs and debacles of the British Empire, sweeping from the heights of the northern Hindu Kush through the gauntlet of the Kabul Gorge roadblocks of murdering warlords and thieving bandits, across the opium-producing poppy fields beyond Jalalabad to the Khyber Pass and onwards to the intrigues of Peshawar, in what was then the North-West Frontier Province and is now called Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa - land of the Pashtun.

Here is a glimpse of a wild, alien and inaccessible country, offering a revealing perspective and insight to the present day continuance of the violent repetitiveness of Afghanistan's long and restless history. Chicken Street is an absorbing and evocative book for all those interested understanding more about Afghanistan, its recent past and how that relates to present-day events. It is a tribute to those hazardously engaged in humanitarian mine action. And once again, it serves as a salutary reminder that in Afghanistan no one wins. If you are to read just one book on the history of Afghanistan then make it Chicken Street.

About The Author

John Lane spent 35 years in the Royal Navy where he saw operational service on a number of ships including the guided missile destroyer HMS Devonshire, the Commando carrier HMS Albion and the Royal Yacht, Britannia. In addition, he saw active field service in Malaya (with the 1st Loyals - the North Lancashire Regiment), Aden and North Borneo. He commanded naval establishments in Gibraltar and Oman before then serving with the British diplomatic mission in Libya. Further appointments included service on the staff of Commander in Chief The Nore (HM Naval Base Chatham) and as Commander of the Haslar Royal Navy Hospital in Gosport. He was awarded the OBE in 1985. / Upon leaving the naval service, he served as a Senior Hospital Administer during the First Gulf War and then worked for the Ryder Cheshire Foundation and the International Red Cross in trouble spots across the world including; Croatia, Rwanda and Armenia. In 1992 he was Head of Mission in Afghanistan for the landmine and Unexploded Ordnance clearance agency, the HALO Trust. With British Executive Service Overseas and VSO, he has undertaken humanitarian assignments in Peru, Bangladesh, Somaliland, Pakistan and Ethiopia. / An accomplished athlete, John Lane ran the RN Bobsleigh team for five seasons, has completed numerous marathons and is often seen riding penny-farthing bicycles. / Currently based in London, John lane plays his trombone and tends allotments with his wife, the delightful Bella. Chicken Street is his fifth book.


"John Lane has an ear for dialogue and irony and an eye for detail and history. He casts light on our present grim predicament by explaining what came before it. If only our politicians had shared his understanding of the history of Britain's three Afghan wars, set out in the back-light of these pages, they might not have opted for our fourth."

- Martin Bell, Journalist and Former MP, February 2013

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