Sir Sherard Louis Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO is a British diplomat. From 2009 to 2010 the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, he is now BAE Systems’ international business development director, focusing on the Middle East and south-east Asia.
His first book CABLES FROM KABUL was published by HarperCollins this year and his second book TELEGRAMS: A LIFE IN DISPATCHES will be published by HarperCollins in 2013
A frank and honest memoir by Britain’s former ambassador to Kabul which provides a unique, high-level insight into Western policy in Afghanistan.
For three years, from 2007 until 2010, Sherard Cowper-Coles was on the diplomatic frontline in Kabul as the Western policy towards Afghanistan sank deeper into crisis. First as the British Ambassador and, later, as the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative, he witnessed at first hand a struggle that by 2010 was swallowing billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, and had cost the lives of more than 2,000 American and 350 British soldiers, as well as tens of thousands of Afghans, in and out of uniform.
In ‘Cables from Kabul’ he gives the reader a ringside seat in the enfolding drama of the West’s Afghanistan mission. Packed full of colourful vignettes, the book lifts the lid on Embassy life, while at the same time providing a powerful critique of Western strategy. Why, he asks, are we focused on pacifying the Taliban in order to hand over power to a half-formed Afghan state that is neither willing nor able to govern?
The book sets out Sherard’s conviction that the Afghanistan project can be brought to a successful conclusion only if America is prepared to engage directly with its enemies and to deliver the massive political and diplomatic effort required to bring about conflict resolution.
Nobody is better placed to tell this story. Authoritiative, witty and astonishingly frank, ‘Cables from Kabul’ explains how we got into the quagmire of Afghanistan, and how we can get out of it.
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
PUBLICATION DATE: 9th June 2011
The Paperback is out now:
“highly readable and witty account of a crucial period in the Afghan conflict” Daily Telegraph
“an instructive perspective” Daily Express
‘The clearest, best informed, and most honest account yet of why and how Britain was drawn deeper and deeper into the Afghan war, by the man who knows more about it than just about anyone else. If you want to understand what really happened, you absolutely have to read this book.’ – John Simpson
‘Unquestionably the most important record yet of the diplomatic wrangling that has accompanied the slow military encirclement of western forces in Afghanistan. Extraordinary’ – William Dalrymple, Observer
‘Vividly portrays the plight of an envoy who really cared about his brief, and felt unable to keep silent about looming failure in a vital region where western intervention has been bungled’ – Max Hastings, Sunday Times
‘A highly readable and witty account by one of our most dynamic and impressive diplomats’ - Daily Telegraph
‘A supremely urbane, frustrated and brilliant valedictory diagnosis of the problems of Afghanistan’s recent past’ - Sunday Telegraph
‘In my experience our former Ambassador in Afghanistan Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles is spot on in his book Cables from Kabul’ – Matthew Parris, The Times
‘Outstanding’ – Julian Glover, Guardian
‘This is a wonderful book’ – Spectator