The story is based on events in the life of Ahmad Ansari, an Afghan teenager during the 1970s when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. It is a tale of a young boy badly injured during a rocket attack on his house and how he has faced life’s challenges since then.
He graduated as the valedictorian of his French high school in Kabul and earned a French government scholarship that he almost lost because the communist government at the time considered him “unpatriotic.” With the help of his parents, he managed to leave Afghanistan and go to France to pursue his education. After earning a doctorate degree in engineering, he immigrated to the United States to join his refugee family who had escaped political persecution and war in his homeland.
Through his life story, Ahmad shows how unrealistic foreign policies and unfounded idealism of powerful countries can lead to global disasters that can impact us all.
Readers will understand the role the United States played to support the Afghan Mujahedeen and foreign fighters, including Osama Bin Laden and his followers, to defeat the Soviets. It also clearly shows how the lack of a coherent and well-thought-out post-war foreign policy by the United States, by abandoning Afghanistan after succeeding in giving the Soviets their own “Vietnam,” enabled an environment for Regional Powers such as Pakistan and Iran to ignite and expand a civil war in Afghanistan.
Pakistan with the creation of the Taliban movement, wanting to control Afghanistan, did not realize the consequences of its action and the danger it created for the entire world. The Taliban in Afghanistan played a major role in allowing Osama Bin Laden to become the de facto leader of that country. Emboldened by the defeat of a Superpower (The Soviet Union), Osama Bin Laden found a base to start terrorizing the United States and the West from there.
The author points out how subsequent tragedies and wars could have been avoided if, after getting involved in the Afghan conflict and playing a crucial role in defeating the Soviet Union, the United States had not abandoned Afghanistan.