Saturday, 28 August 2010

A Long Road to Progress

It is rare that I give a direct plug to someone, or something, but I would like to do so in the case of one of my best friends and a former colleague, Colonel Richard Hall, OBE, MNZM.

His book "A Long Road to Progress: Dispatches from a Kiwi Commander in Afghanistan" has been very well received by the New Zealand public and chronicles his tour of duty and the observations he made along the way.

As the promptional blurb says " As Commander of the New Zealand troops in the Bamiyan Province of Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Hall gained a unique insight into the lives of Kiwi soldiers serving in a harsh climate amid daily threats, as well as into the lives of the locals - from the female governor trying to establish order in a patriarchal society, to the farmer scratching a living from an inhospitable land, to the orphaned girls destined to be sold into marriage at a young age.

He vividly and movingly recalls his experiences, but also explains the vision he tried to implement there on behalf of this country. He tackles the complex issues involved in an army that seeks to bring both aid and a Western way of doing things in a deeply Islamic country. He offers an astute perspective on working with New Zealand troops, American soldiers, corrupt Afghani officials, intransigent aid organisations, while tackling crippling poverty, insurgents attacks, impossible terrain and severe weather. This is an important and fascinating view of New Zealand's role in Afghanistan".

In an interview he gave in the last fortnight he indicated that any proceeds from the book will be going to provide further support to an Orphanage that he has sponsored in Bamiyan province.

Well done that man!
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