Several titles and specific chapters of the following military field manuals (also found on this site - just follow the links below) and a few other books, will illustrate current military situations occuring in Afghanistan. This will allow anyone to get up to speed on what our forces are doing on the ground, and allow insight on why events unfold the way they do.

Check out the following -

How to Make War, Third Edition. By James F. Dunnigan, ISBN# 0-688-12157-8. {Link to Amazon's web page}. While this is not a U.S. Military Field Manual, it is the single best piece of modern military reference material ever produced. It is easy to read for both the non-technical as well as technical reader, never assumes you are an idiot, and is (remarkably for such a topic) rather funny. It is straightforward, realistic (no Tom Clancy cheerleading here), and no nonsense. If you are trying to understand what modern warfare is all about, read this. If you have limited time (and can't get through the rest of this reading list) READ THIS AS YOUR ONLY PIECE OF INFORMATION. It will make everything clear, and nothing will even begin to make sense - especially if you are coming at this cold - unless you read and understand this book. I cannot begin to adequately laude its praises, and it is hands down the best book on the subject (for what it is trying to accomplish, read the introduction) ever written. If I can figure out to write on these subjects 1/2 as well as Mr. Dunnigan, I can die a happy man.

A Quick and Dirty Guide to War, by James F. Dunnigan and Austin Bay, ISBN# 0-688-06256-3. {Link to Amazon's web page} . Again not a Military Field Manual, but the section on Afghanistan is invaluable. And if you can get a used copy for 4 bucks or so, why not? I drew on this heavily in my U.S. vs. Afghanistan 17 / 10 / 01 article, written right after the WTC terror attack.

The Law of Land Warfare - Chapters 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8. Chapter 8 (Remedies for Violation of International Law - War Crimes) is very topical, especially due to the fervor over the establishment of military courts for suspected terrorists.

Military Police Internment / Resettlement Operations - Chapters 1, 3, 4, 10, and appendix B. Chapters 3, 4 and B discuss EPW's and how to hold and control them. This is interesting to read and use as a post morterm on how the Mazar-e-Sharif internment camp (25 / 11 / 01 - ~800 Taliban surrendered and then took over a N.A. internment camp) got out of control. How many rules were violated? Better take off your shoes!

Mountain Operations - Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Read chapter 5 along with The Campaign for the Caves, the Battles for Zhawar. This will provide instant insight as to why no military 'talking head' on the news channels wants to get us into a mountain war in Asia.

Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) - Chapters 1, 2, 3 and appendix A, B, C, D, and F. What we might have to do to storm Khandahar and why combatants in urban warfare take a lot of casualities. Additionally in Company Team (below), Appendix I, there is also a good description (with graphics) of hazards of operating mounted in a Urban setting. After you read this, you will realize why we want the N.A. to take the cities, and why we want everyone to surrender.

The Tank and Mechanized Infantry... Company Team / Battalion Task Force - Skim over each of these, especially the introductions and the sections on who and how many belong to what. Then when they say 500 Marines are on the ground, you know what that means!

With this basic information under your belt you will be able to (to borrow a phrase from Dunnigan) 'Play armchair General' with relative ease. When the talking heads announce certain operations are taking place, and certain numbers of troops are running around, you will know exactly what is going on. In theory of course, not in practice (that will make sense AFTER your reading).

One more thing. Amazon looks as if it might have a program to allow me to set up my own 'virtual bookstore' on their site, with volumes of interest listed. If you buy from them, they give me a small kickback (helping me to defer the costs associated with this site), and having them all available at your virtual fingertips seems like a good idea. If you feel strongly either way, please drop a line letting me know. Thanks.